Green bin program helps reduce Nanaimo household waste by half

Survey shows that since the green bin program was extended to all Nanaimo residents, nearly 50 per cent is being diverted from the landfill

Nanaimo residents are kicking excessive garbage to the curb, by diverting nearly half of their household waste from the landfill through the green bin program.

During a recent survey completed by the City of Nanaimo, city collection crews tracked the number of garbage bags, use of extra garbage tags and frequency of green bin use for about 24,000 households. The vast majority of households put one bag or fewer of garbage out on collection day (every two weeks), and 60 per cent regularly used their green bin.

As of October, food waste collection was extended to all city-serviced homes, however, multi-family complexes still remain the responsibility of the private hauling companies who service them.

“We now divert 64 per cent of household waste through composting or recycling, twice as much as five years ago, but as our recent survey shows, there is room to improve,” said Gary Franssen, manager of sanitation. “We would like to see more households take advantage of the green bin program and we will be exploring ways to increase participation.”

Sharon Horsburgh, RDN senior zero-waste coordinator, said it is up to each multi-family building, complex or strata to contract with their service provider for green bin collection if the facility lends itself to food waste collection, which can be a challenge.

“Each one is very unique – townhouses versus apartment buildings, they have a different service collection system,” she said. “We [can] work with the property owners in the city to advise them on how best to incorporate the green bin into their service levels.”

She added that certain townhomes within the regional district that have been able to emulate residential household collection have been incorporated into the regional service.

Canada Post began delivering the fall 2012 Waste Line newsletter to all Nanaimo homes. The newsletter contains more information on how the city’s curbside programs are helping make it more sustainable, and about improvements at the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange.

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