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Canmore organics program to start in September

CANMORE – A pilot project to divert organic waste from the landfill will start in September – a year earlier than expected.
Craig Douce photo
Canmore is currently in the process of expanding its waste transfer centre so it can handle organic waste.

CANMORE – A pilot project to divert organic waste from the landfill will start in September – a year earlier than expected.

Council unanimously agreed to fast track the project after administration struck a short-term deal with the Town of Banff that will allow the municipality to transfer organic waste to Banff’s transfer facility while its own waste management centre is expanded.

The $2.9 million project will initially include five residential bins located throughout the community, including a bin at the Boulder Crescent Recycling Depot, the downtown recycling depot between the two grocery stores, Fourth Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue, Larch Avenue across from 200 Larch Place and at the intersection of Lawrence Grassi Ridge and Peaks Drive.

By starting the project a year early, council also agreed to transfer $51,000 from the waste operating budget to the recycling operating budget to pay for the cost of sending the organic material to Banff for 12 months.

“There would be no net change in the overall solid waste services budget,” said Simon Robins, supervisor of solid waste services.

According to a staff report, administration estimates 500 tonnes of organic waste will be collected from residential homes per year and anticipates saving $32 per tonne of waste.

As a result, Robins told council he anticipates saving $14,000 in landfill costs in 2019 and $56,000 in 2020, a net gain of $19,000 once the costs of transferring the organic material to Banff are taken into account.

“It costs less to transfer the food waste than it does to transfer the landfill waste,” said Robins.

To help residents divert their organic waste, 2,000 residential bins will be available for free to pick up beginning in August from the Canmore Civic Centre as well as the public works building. Fifty thousand dollars has also been set aside for education.

In 2017, Canmore sent 0.6 tonnes of garbage to the landfill per resident. The Town hopes the project will help it reach 0.45 tonnes per person by 2020.

A 2016 waste characterization study found that residential solid waste heading to the landfill contains 30 per cent organic material and commercial garbage contains 50 per cent organics.

The project is expected to eventually include organic waste from the commercial sector, including 100 roll carts for businesses.

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