Plastics Plague City Compost
St. Albert may soon have to pay steep fines for its organic waste because too many plastic bags – and too many green carts – are ending up in the organics stream.
The Gazette newspaper reported that Roseridge Landfill was on the verge of levying a $150 per truckload fine on the City of St. Albert due to ongoing contamination problems with its green cart curbside organics program.
Roseridge manager Gerard Duffy said this week that there was a significant amount of non-compostable material coming in from St. Albert’s green carts.
“We’re seeing a lot of plastic bags coming through that aren’t biodegradable,” he said, as well as black trash bags and blue bags full of recycling. He estimated that about 15% of St. Albert’s organics loads were contaminated this way.
Duffy said contaminated loads mean more work for the landfill, as crews have to repeatedly flip them with heavy equipment to break open the plastic bags and then remove them by hand before the organic waste can be composted.
St. Albert waste and diversion programs supervisor Olivia Kwok defended the city’s efforts, saying that it had diverted some 11,000 tonnes of waste through the green cart program last year.
“From time to time there may be things that go inside the cart that don’t belong there,” Kwok said, adding that the city recently revamped its online guide on what should and shouldn’t go in the green bin.
Drivers try to save green carts that fall into their trucks before the crusher engages, but aren’t always successful, Kwok said. Residents receive free replacements if their carts are destroyed this way. When they spot contaminants in carts, drivers leave those carts at the curb along with an orange tag so residents can learn why the cart wasn’t collected.
Visit stalbert.ca/waste for a guide on what to put in the green cart.
Source: St. Albert Gazette