Audit shows more education needed on items acceptable in green bins

NANAIMO – The city released an audit of its green bins, which were rolled out in 2011.

Nanaimo residents are doing a pretty good job when it comes to chucking the right waste in green bins, a new audit shows.

The City of Nanaimo has just released its green bin audit, which saw two city employees check bins to see just what was heading to the composting plant.

Of 50 random bins scrutinized over three days this July, 24 per cent were contaminated with material like plastic bags, a bread clip and plastic sausage skin.

That number “might make your hair curl,” said Charlotte Davis, the city’s manager of sanitation, recycling and public works administration, but contamination made up less than one per cent of the weight and volume of the green bins.

“So people are doing a really, really good job,” she said.

The audit shows the city could educate people around vigilance against the tossing of small food-related items into the bin, like bread clips, and using compostable bags rather than biodegradable ones that break down into small pieces of plastic.

“It is important that residents are mindful when using their green bin, every single item they put in there has to be compostable,” Davis said. “My job is to eliminate confusion from the situation, so I will be putting more effort into helping residents be clear on exactly what items are and aren’t compostable.”

The report also showed 82 per cent of people used compostable bags in bins, while four per cent lined containers with paper and 14 per cent used nothing at all.

Nanaimo rolled out a green bin program for kitchen waste in 2011, a time when the community’s recycling efforts diverted 33 per cent of waste away from the landfill. Today Nanaimo’s has improved how much is kept away from the landfill by more than 50 per cent.

To see the green bin audit visit: http://goo.gl/oJuzp2.

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