The city has had a test going since last September with 2,000 houses to see how residents respond to having their regular garbage reduced to once every two weeks and being encouraged to recycle all their food scraps into their yard trimmings bin.
I’ve been wondering how it’s going and yesterday, I got a chance to get some answers, which ran along the lines of: Pretty darn good.
But I also got a better understanding of why it takes so long to roll out recycling. I’ve been waiting for food-scraps recycling forever, it seems like, and couldn’t understand the city’s go-slow approach.
But, as head engineer Peter Judd said in my story and here, recycling programs don’t inspire an instant embrace from everyone. I hadn’t really clued into that, being a dutiful recycler (daughter of Prairie farmers who just couldn’t bear to throw anything in the garbage) who actually feels pain at seeing a tin can thrown into the regular trash can.
However, it takes a lot of people a lot of prompting to get with the program. And food-scraps-recycling is difficult, remembering what can and can’t go in. When I went down to the 311 centre a couple of months ago, the director there told me that the pilot produced a spike of calls and he expected even more if/when it was introduced city-wide.
Judd also said they’re expecting a lot of people will order larger regular-trash carts to cope with having to hold that garbage for two weeks between pick-ups (though the pilot showed there wasn’t as much cart expansion as had been expected). That will cost millions of dollars if a lot of the 100,000 households in the city decided to move up a cart size.
Once this goes through (and it’s also happening in Surrey and the three North Shore municipalities), it’s expected to produce the biggest jump in recycling since blue boxes went in and transform the region’s garbage diversion from 55 per cent to 80 per cent.
I’m hanging on to my chicken carcass here, just waiting.