Banff Rolls Out Bear-Proof Compost Bins

Connector November 2019

Nov. 5, 2019

The Town of Banff is introducing additional food bins to increase composting and keep bears safe.

New bear-proof organic waste bins are being installed in Banff neighbourhoods as part of the town’s Zero Waste Trail initiative to help residents cut down on waste going to the landfill.

Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen and the town’s Resource Recovery team are also handing out 1,500 free kitchen catcher bags for residents to use in their homes before dropping off their organic waste in the bins.

It’s all part of an initiative to keep rotting food away from the super sensitive noses of bears, Sorensen said, in an interview with CTV News, to prevent untimely encounters between bears and people, while at the same time promoting composting.

“It’s all about convenience. That’s why we put those bins into the neighbourhoods,” she said.

It’s part of the town’s Zero Waste Trail initiative to help residents cut down on garbage going to the landfill.

“As far as residential composting goes, with these bins, we would hope to increase diversion by about 500 tonnes a year,” said Carla Bitz, Banff’s Environmental Coordinator.

That’s roughly the weight of 40 school buses each year.

“And we know that also methane is a harmful greenhouse gas that is produced when food goes into landfills,” added Bitz, “so we’re trying to reduce emissions as well.”

Before this, anyone wanting to compost had to make deliveries to the waste transfer site.

Now, 16 Banff communities have organic waste bins.

Two years from now, there will be a total of 63.

One Banff building manager estimated that only a quarter of his building’s residents collect organic waste now.

“Some people did not compost because it was too difficult,” said Peter Waddington, the Assistant Manager of Rocky Mountain Housing.

“Now, it’s going to be about 100 metres (to do it) or so.”

The town is also giving 1000 residents free kitchen catcher bins and compostable bags.

Banff’s goal is to divert all waste from the landfill by 2050.

Source: CTV News