Maple Ridge must find way to pick up green waste

Is going to hire a consultant, and pay up to $100,000 to find out, council decided Monday.

With Metro Vancouver’s deadline of removing organic waste from the garbage stream looming 2015

With Metro Vancouver’s deadline of removing organic waste from the garbage stream looming 2015

Maple Ridge has three years to get on the green waste bandwagon. It just doesn’t know how it’s going to pick up the potato peelings and rotten tomatoes.

So it’s going to hire a consultant, and pay up to $100,000 to find out, council decided Monday.

With Metro Vancouver’s deadline of removing organic waste from the garbage stream looming 2015, council is trying to figure out a way to collect kitchen waste, while minimizing the cost.

Unlike most Metro Vancouver municipalities, Maple Ridge doesn’t operate a garbage pickup service, nor contract to provide the service.

Instead, residents pay one of four private companies, or other smaller companies, to pick up their garbage.

Or residents themselves truck their trash down to the transfer station, next to the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society depot. About a third of Maple Ridge residents do that.

A staff report lays out three options for a green waste collection system: allow the private contractors that pick up the garbage to also haul away the green waste; offer a single contract to one company to pick up everything, garbage, recyclables and organic waste ,from Maple Ridge homes, effectively removing the recycling society from the collection role; or have the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society expand its duties, adding green waste collection to that of collecting recyclables.

Private contractors would continue to collect the garbage.

Coun. Bob Masse noted though that the report says the garbage-hauling companies could haul away organics every week and garbage every two weeks for close to the same price residents now are paying for weekly garbage pickup.

The charge for dumping organic waste is about half that for dumping regular garbage at a Metro Vancouver transfer station.

Currently, Maple Ridge residents pay contractors between $144 and $174 a year for weekly pickup of one can.

If the private companies collected the green waste, residents would only pay about $224 a year for garbage, recycling and green waste collection, he pointed out.

That’s less than the $275 to $350 it would cost if the district picked up recyclables, garbage and green waste. He wanted to know why there was such a difference in costs.

In the November 2011 election, Masse campaigned on having a single contractor collect garbage. He’d like the consultant to consider a single contractor collecting garbage and green waste, leaving recyclables still collected by the recycling society.

Having one contractor collect the waste, instead of the four or more smaller companies, would reduce the number of trucks on the road and be more efficient, he said later.

But the dollars and service would have to make sense for the taxpayers, he added.

The City of Pitt Meadows starts its kitchen and yard waste collection this month.

Mayor Ernie Daykin pointed out in a later news release that noncompliance with Metro Vancouver’s decision to ban green waste could result in significant fines.

“There is a substantial variation in the programs, methods and costs for solid waste management reported from community to community, and it’s critical that council and citizens have a full understanding of the implications of the alternatives as this issue moves forward,” he added.

Kitchen waste makes up about 36 per cent of the garbage stream.