How does the program work? What do I do?

    With this program, homes that currently receive curbside garbage and recycling collection will each receive two containers - a small kitchen bin (approximately 1 cu. ft., or 7 litres in volume, in size) and a curbside cart (120-litre). The kitchen bin would typically be stored next to your counter or sink or underneath the sink. It may be lined with newspaper or a paper bag for ease of emptying and cleanliness and has a lid that closes to help eliminate odour. 

    When the kitchen bin is full, the food waste is transferred to the curbside cart, which can be stored alongside your garbage and recycling containers. Curbside Organic Waste collection will take place weekly.  On your neighbourhoods designated collection day, simply place your cart in the same spot as garbage or recycling and it will be collected. 

    What will go in the organics cart?

    Organics collection will be a comingled collection of both food and yard waste. 

    Kitchen food scraps include cooked food (leftovers); unused or spoiled grains, dairy, produce, and meat/fish; bones, egg/seafood shells; and small amounts of fat, grease, and oils (preferably soaked in paper towel or newsprint).

    Food-soiled paper products can include paper napkins and paper towel; food-soiled newsprint, paper bags, paper plates or pizza boxes (clean pizza boxes should still go in recycling while greasy/cheese-caked boxes can go in the organics container); coffee grinds, filters and tea bags; wooden chopsticks, popsicle sticks, and skewers.

    Seed, bedding, and cage liners from small household pets such as birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters.  

    Yard waste may include fallen fruit, small amounts of grass clippings or leaves, and small branches. Layering food with yard waste in collection carts is a very effective way to absorb liquid and minimize odours. Large sticks and twigs are not accepted. 

    Why do I need to compost? Why not just throw food waste in the garbage?

    Modern landfills are not designed to break down waste, but only to store waste. When organic waste breaks down in a landfill it generates a greenhouse gas called methane. Methane is 26 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere. One of the purposes of an organic waste collection program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

    Composting food changes the way that food breaks down so that methane production is minimized. We are also looking at long-term options for organic waste processing (e.g. one of the options is to capture and convert the gas into renewable natural gas).

    I already compost? Do I still have to participate?

    Thanks for keeping the environment top of mind and composting at home! There is no opt-out option for curbside organics collection. 

    Please be aware that there are materials that are accepted in organic waste collection that should not be composted in backyard open systems (such as meat, bones, oils, fats, and cooked foods - these attract vermin and other wild animals). You can absolutely continue backyard composting while using the organic waste collection program for anything that doesn't belong, or is difficult to compost, in your backyard.

    What if I don't want to compost? Do I still have to get a cart?

    We encourage you to look at the benefits of composting to our environment. Composting organic waste will keep tonnes of organics out of our landfill each year, extend the life of our landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At this time, we do not anticipate an ability to opt-out and all single-family residences will receive a kitchen collection bin and a curbside collection cart. 

    Can compostable plastic bags be used to line my bin or cart?

    No plastic liners – even compostable or biodegradable ones – will be accepted in the program. The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is planning to remove compostable and biodegradable plastic bags from the list of acceptable materials at all composting facilities as part of their upcoming revision to the provincial Organic Matter Recycling Regulation because plastics that are certified as biodegradable or compostable will only break down under very specific conditions, including a minimum period and when exposed to a certain minimum temperature. In general, the challenge is that not all composting facilities operate under these conditions. If they don’t, the plastics won’t break down properly and can end up contaminating the finished product, polluting the environment, and introducing microplastics and chemical additives into the soil as they break down. 

    You may use paper bags, newspaper or cardboard to line bins and carts. 

    Will multi-family residences and/or businesses be included?

    At this time, the program will only collect organic material from single-family homes. Will anticipate researching collection from multi-family homes and businesses in the future. 

    How much will this program cost? Will it affect my utility bill?

    The anticipated annual user fees for organics collection is around $50.00 per household. That is $12.50 per quarter.  Additionally, these fees will be offset by a reduction in the garbage collection user fees of about $14.00 per year per household.

    How do I store my curbside container? Won't this program attract wildlife?

    The organics collection curbside container should be stored in a secure location similar to how your garbage cart is currently managed, preferably in a shed or garage, that will prevent access from wildlife, including bears.

    Wildlife is attracted to organic waste whether it is in an organics cart or a garbage cart. Currently, your organic waste is placed into your garbage cart so the addition of a compost cart will neither increase or decrease the attractant. Continuing to properly manage your carts by securing them on your property or in a shed or garage will minimize the attractant. 

    We also know that layering food and yard waste in collection carts is an effective way to reduce odours that attract animals. 

    Bear-resistant carts will be available for a one time cost to residents that do not have suitable secure storage location for their cart.

    How do I keep my Kitchen bin and curbside container clean?

    Your kitchen bin can easily be washed with soap and water in your kitchen sink. You can line it with newsprint or paper to help absorb liquid and make it easier to clean.

    To keep your curbside cart clean, you can line it with newspaper, cardboard, or yard trimmings before adding food scraps to absorb liquid. Layering can help keep the contents dry. You can layer food scraps with dried leaves, dried grass, or dead plants. 

    Place the cart out every collection day, even if it isn't full. Rinse your cart occasionally with a garden hose and mild detergent or vinegar and water solution.

    What happens to the collected organic material?

    All collected organics will be taken to a central processing facility run by the RDEK. They will be monitoring the quality of the compost for at least the first year and will then determine if it will be available for public use. We look forward to sharing that information as it becomes available.

    The Central Organics Collection Facility will be located at 600 Eager Hill Road, Fort Steele, BC. 

    Will my garbage still be collected weekly? Will this program affect my recycle collection?

    Best practice for collection frequency is to collect organics weekly, with garbage and recycling collected bi-weekly. A weekly collection of organics helps with managing odours and reducing wildlife interactions as well as meeting our goals of reducing the amount of waste entering our landfill.

    When is this program going to start?

    We anticipate a program start-date of Summer 2023. 

    Can I put pet waste or kitty litter in my organics cart?

    No, pet waste is not accepted in the organics cart.  Please bag all pet waste and cat litter and put in your garbage cart.

    If I can't determine if an item is compostable, should I put it in my organics cart anyway?

    When in doubt, Throw it out!  You can always review the acceptable items on the City’s website or contact Operations to get some clarification. We can appreciate wanting to do your best to keep compostable materials out of the landfill; however, contamination is difficult to separate and leads to clean compostable material being sent to the landfill.

    Are there any other communities that have curbside organics collection?

    Yes! There are many municipalities in BC that collect organics as part of their solid waste management. Information on BC’s residential organic waste programs and case studies that outline programs in a number of municipalities can be found on the Government of British Columbia website at:

    How much will this program cost to get started? How is the program funded?

    Program Costs include:

    • $ 10,000 Education and Outreach 
    • $350,000 Collection Truck 
    • $297,600 Collection Carts 
    • $657,600 - Total Estimated Cost 

    The total amount of funding secured: 

    • $114,800 RDEK Contribution 
    • $198,400 OIP Grant 
    • $272,900 CBT Climate Resilience Program 
    • $71,500 City Reserve Funds