The City of Campbell River received a grant from the province to help launch an automated curbside waste pickup system, which will facilitate the city’s upcoming organics collection program.
The funding was one of 23 projects being supported through British Columbia’s CleanBC Organic Infrastructure and Collection Program, announced on Dec. 3. This new automated collection system will target all three types of the city’s municipal curbside waste, including garbage, recycling and organics.
Automated waste collection systems typically involve side-loading trucks with a mechanized arm that loads waste from standardized carts, with separate carts for each waste type. The City of Nanaimo is an example of a nearby municipality using this type of system.
The estimated cost of Campbell River’s new collection program is $2.83 million, of which $633,431 will be funded by the provincial grant.
The city anticipates the new organics processing facility being constructed by Comox Strathcona Waste Management will be in service by late 2022. Then curbside organic waste collection will start as early as 2023, with about 10,600 homes throughout Campbell River to be served, said Mayor Andy Adams, in the Dec. 13 city council meeting.
Adams said the city is appreciative of the funding, but noted that while the province funded Campbell River’s program by about a third, some similar projects in other communities, particularly in central B.C., were funded by about 60 per cent.
“So, I think we’ve got some lobbying to do next time we’re at (the Union of BC Municipalities) to make sure that the grant percentages are fair and equitable across the province,” he said.
The 23 projects are intended to reduce emissions, create jobs and produce compost, according to the Dec. 3 provincial press release. Currently, organic waste accounts for about 40 per cent of material sent to municipal landfills and about 3.5 per cent of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“With the recent climate-related emergency events – from wildfires to flooding – people and communities are increasingly committed to reducing our carbon footprint,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in a statement.
“By diverting organic waste from landfills, these projects will reduce the release of methane greenhouse gases and remove an estimated one million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent over 10 years.”