Organics collection in Port Alberni is going to raise garbage collection fees for households, but according to city staff, the alternative woud be even more expensive.
During a budget meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16, Port Alberni city council discussed the launch of roadside organics collection, which is expected to begin in summer 2021.
The new service will result in an increase in annual garbage collection fees for each household, from $135 to $180. This equals a total curbside collection cost of around $15 per month for trash, recycling and organics.
However, finance manager Andrew McGifford explained on Tuesday that organics collection is the “lowest cost option” for city residents.
In addition to extending the life of the landfill by approximately 35 years, organics collection will avoid the need for a methane gas capture system at the landfill.
“There’s a threshold we are very close to at the Alberni landfill,” explained McGifford. “If we didn’t continue to reduce the levels of organic material going into the landfill, they would need gas collection infrastructure installed. Not only does that cost about $13 million, but there’s annual operating costs that are incurred.”
McGifford noted that even with this increase, Port Alberni will still have one of the lowest costs for solid waste collection across Vancouver Island.
City residents will not be able to opt out of the program, even if they already compost in their backyards. Curbside organics collection differs from backyard composting, as some food waste—like meat, bones, grease and dairy—is unsuitable for home composting and needs to be sent to a composting facility to be properly processed.
New carts will be provided to all households free of charge.