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Victoria considers accepting yard waste in green bins, switching to curbside model

2020 study found yard waste makes up 10 per cent of the garbage Victoria collects
Oak Bay Coun. Eric Zhelka scoops excess leaves into his kitchen waste bin. The District of Oak Bay’s contract for kitchen waste pickup now permits the inclusion of general yard waste. Victoria council will be presented a report at their March 11 meeting that recommends moving to allowing yard waste in green bins. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

A report heading to Victoria council on March 11 recommends allowing residents to include yard waste in their green bins.

City staff recommend that the Solid Waste Bylaw should be amended “to enable curbside comingled organics (kitchen scraps and yard waste) collection.” The bylaw currently prohibits putting yard waste in garbage and organics bins.

City staff said a waste composition study from 2020 found yard waste makes up 10 per cent of the garbage the city collects.

Victoria residents currently only have one option for dealing with their yard waste; dropping it off at the city’s public works yard between 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The report flagged this as an equity issue, as it makes it difficult for those without vehicles, people living with physical disabilities or those who work atypical hours to dispose of their yard waste.

More options for dealing with yard waste is the most common request about solid waste services that staff receive, the report said.

READ: City of Victoria on the road to zero waste

Updating the collection service would be in line with the municipality’s environmental and equity goals, the report said.

The Zero Waste Victoria program, approved by council in December, aims to lower the amount of solid waste sent to Hartland by 50 per cent by 2040. The program also mentions expanding bin collection services.

The report also recommends garbage and green bin collection transition from a backyard to a curbside model.

Staff called the current model “outdated” and it “negatively impacts employee well-being, sustains inequitable yard waste disposal options and constrains fleet planning and opportunities for future service enhancements.”

Residents would be required — except for those with accessibility requirements — to bring their bins to the curb on collection day.

Staff estimate the service could increase the amount of organic material collected by up to 1,500 tonnes, which they say would cost up to $200,000 a year to compost – with no impact on user fees.

Victoria’s yard waste services lag behind bordering municipalities. Saanich and Oak Bay have curbside yard waste collection and the two communities, along with Esquimalt, have drop-off services running four to six days a week.

READ: Oak Bay residents can now discard of yard waste in green bins

Pending council support, next steps would include providing additional details to residents about what yard waste would be accepted in their green bins and determining an effective date for service change.

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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