Collection of organic material as part of City of Powell River’s organics pilot program has been curtailed.
Rod Fraser, city manager of operations, said a garbage truck used for collection is currently not operational.
“We’re hoping to get that fixed,” said Fraser. “We are waiting for some parts for the vehicle and they are unable to give us a date. Hopefully, we’ll get some kind of timeline.”
He added that the city’s other large garbage truck is still operating and smaller vehicles are being used supplementally for solid waste collection.
“We’re able to limp along with regular solid waste collection and recycling collection,” said Fraser. “Those are our two biggest customers at the moment.”
Fraser said the city has been looking at the prospect of renting a full-sized truck.
“We have a couple of irons in the fire,” said Fraser. “Hopefully, something will pan out for us.”
There is also the prospect of acquisition of another full-sized truck. Fraser said a tender for the vehicle was closing. Having a third vehicle is essential for an expanded organics program, he added.
Fraser said city council is onboard with moving toward a full organics program so staff has that in mind.
Fraser said there have been encouraging developments in solid waste collection in the city, and growth in the curbside recycling collection.
“That’s something we’ve noticed over the last few years, and especially in the last year,” said Fraser. “The volume of recycling we’re picking up at the curb has increased. We’re actually collecting more weight and volume of recycling. The good part is the more recycling we pick up, the less we have going to landfill. It’s the big bonus for us.”
Reduction of the waste stream will be further supplemented if the city moves to a full organics program, according to Fraser. It would result in a further significant reduction of the waste sent to landfill in Washington State.
According to the recent 2021 waste composition study report for qathet Regional District, at 42 per cent, organics was a substantial portion of the weight of the residential waste stream, and overall, the largest single material category at 25 per cent when all waste streams were considered. According to the report, it represents the greatest potential for diversion from landfill.
“When you think about it, it’s a lot of weight we could save,” said Fraser.
He said council wants to see some numbers before committing to a universal organics collection, so that is where staff heads next.
“There’s a couple of options,” said Fraser. “It’s still a work in progress.”