Anyone who already diverts organic waste like potato peels, coffee grounds, apple cores and soggy lettuce to a compost bin can attest to the fact that composting drastically cuts down what’s left for curbside pickup.

Trail sets new utility rates

Reducing garbage and efficacy of organic waste diversion came up during the Trail governance meeting

Anyone who already diverts organic waste like potato peels, coffee grounds, apple cores and soggy lettuce to a compost bin can attest to the fact that composting drastically cuts down what’s left for curbside pickup.

It’s good for the environment – decomposition of organic waste in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas – and composting can be good for the pocketbook. If all users had the option to separate organics from other garbage, tipping fees at the landfill would likely decrease by at least 40 per cent.

Reducing garbage and efficacy of organic waste diversion came up during the Trail governance meeting this week as council reviewed next year’s utility rates which include a $4 increase, or $130 a year, for the weekly garbage service.

“The issue of service levels is raised annually so council has an opportunity to determine if any change is appropriate,” explained Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff. “Some municipalities are taking different approaches when it comes to solid waste collection and fee recovery. Examples of this include reducing bag limits, changing collection frequency and moving towards more of a user pay approach (tag-a-bag).”

The most significant costs Trail incurs are from door-to-door collection (provided by a contractor) and tipping fees charged by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) when residential refuse is dumped at the regional landfill.

Surrounding communities, like those in the Boundary, have embraced regional organic waste diversion or, like Castlegar, cut back garbage pick up to bi-weekly.

But Trail continues to permit two garbage cans per household for weekly pick up.

“It has been suggested that this be adjusted either by reducing the container limit to one or by using a different cost recovery mechanism that is more reflective of individual use as opposed to global use,” Perehudoff noted. “Council has rejected studying these options further and unless directed otherwise the current rate proposal does not include a service level change or change in the cost recovery method.”

If council wants to look at the rates moving forward, and for staff to explore other opportunities, now’s the time to consider that.”

The regional district is continuing to pursue a solid waste management plan, replied Coun. Kevin Jolly.

RDKB staff was recently directed to look at transferring organic waste from the Trail area to the Boundary facility – as opposed to a costly option proposed a number of years ago – building a local organic waste diversion site.

“Our tipping fees would definitely go down because a big component is weight,” said Perehudoff. “Organic waste is heavy.”

Coun. Robert Cacchioni has been a long-time proponent of organic waste diversion.

He said, “The Grand Forks area all has it … they say you save about 42 per cent in the Boundary area … after four years nothing has happened (locally), so I encourage (the regional district) to pursue it.”

Council later approved a one per cent increase, or $3.70, to water rates and a $5.50 hike to the annual sewer fee.

When utility bills are mailed out in January, Trail residents can expect a $767.50 invoice for garbage, water and sewer services, or a $13.20 increase from 2017.

On a monthly basis, the non-discounted payment would be $63.95 as opposed to $62.85 in 2017. This equates to a monthly increase of $1.10 over last year. The monthly increase in 2017 (as compared to 2016) was $1.20, which council agreed is reasonable given the level of service.

For people who pay on or before the discount date (Feb. 28), the annual invoice is reduced by $56.50 or 7.4 per cent to $711.

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