Victoria council is expected to start allowing residents to mix yard waste with kitchen scraps in their green bins.
At its Thursday meeting, council was set to vote on adopting amendments to the solid waste bylaw that will see the city moving to a comingled organics – yard waste and kitchen scraps – and curbside-collection model. Those changes would come into effect on Sept. 13.
That vote has been pushed back to next Thursday’s daytime meeting.
Council approved all three readings of the bylaw amendments at its July 22 meeting. Councillors Ben Isitt and Sharmarke Dubow were opposed.
The proposed amendments will allow residents who require additional assistance to still have their waste containers collected from and returned to their yard.
Aside from some seasonal collection, Victoria residents’ only current option for getting rid of their yard clippings is taking them to the city’s disposal site during a seven-hour window on Saturdays. A staff report in March flagged this as an equity issue for those without vehicles, people living with physical disabilities or those who work atypical hours. Moving to curbside yard waste collection brings Victoria in-line with neighbouring municipalities – like Saanich and Oak Bay – that already have such programs in place.
Curt Kingsley, city clerk, said at last week’s meeting that there were various consultations done in drafting the bylaw changes. Those included the many emails and calls the public works department receives from residents asking for curbside-comingled collection and focus groups with neighbourhood associations, businesses and non-profits.
The amendments will also make some language changes in the bylaw. The word “bin” will be replaced with “container” as staff said the use of bin has caused confusion for some residents. The phrase kitchen scraps will be changed to a more encompassing “organic materials.”
The amendments also look to change the definition of yard waste so that it doesn’t include soil or sod. Staff said this is due to their “potential as a hazardous material” under provincial legislation.
The March staff report estimated curbside service could increase the amount of organic material collected by up to 1,500 tonnes, which they said would cost up to $200,000 a year to compost – with no impact on user fees. Staff, in March, said a waste composition study from 2020 found yard waste makes up 10 per cent of the garbage the city collects.
A comprehensive communications plan for the city’s 14,000 service users has been prepared and will be rolled out in mid-August, staff said.
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