New green bins collecting opinions, as well as compost

Since green carts have recently been rolled out across Calgary, some residents have expressed mixed feelings over this new composting program.

Since 2012, the city has been collecting organic waste for the pilot neighbourhoods of Brentwood, Cougar Ridge, Abbeydale and Southwood.

The program seeks to reduce dependency on landfills while turning organic materials into a natural fertilizer.

According to CBC News, the amount of waste ending up in the residents’ black carts has been reduced by roughly half, with the introduction of the new bins.

“It is an eye-opener to see how much food I throw out in a week,” said Michael Pham, a resident of Dalhousie.

Although he likes the idea of composting food scraps, Pham said it takes time to get used to this habit.

He said he would prefer to keep the costs down, considering there are expenses associated with the new garbage system.

“Ten bags cost about $5, not to mention an extra fee for trash pickup.”

According to CBC, a fee of $6.50 per month is expecting to be charged to residents starting in January, 2018.

Linda Carate, a resident of Dalhousie, said that she is trying to have the new cart removed since she has been composting on her own for years.

“I have my composter, so I don’t need the green bin,” she said.

Carate said that the city should let home-owners opt out of the green bin program if they already compost.

“Otherwise, I would have to pay $70 per year for a bin to sit in my alley.”

“I don’t use mine anymore,” said Janet Nguyen, a resident of Crescent Heights.

“The indoor compost bucket smells unbearable, and it attracts fruit flies.

“I tried everything to get the smell gone, but nothing worked,” said Nguyen.

“I feel like the city has made a decision that costs a lot more than needed.”

Nguyen said that they should have had better initiatives that could process all waste from a regular trash bag.

Coleen Franco, a resident of Brentwood, said that she is all in favour of this new system. Her only complaint is the inconvenience of storing those three bins, for compost, recycling and garbage.

“I use an ice cream bucket with a scented compost bag in it to hold my food scraps and put it under the sink,” she said.

“I just empty it out every day without having any bad smell.”

Some people might not want to compost because of the stench, while others assume it’s just too much of a hassle, said Franco.

“It can be very straightforward,” she said.

“It doesn’t have to change your lifestyle at all, but it can make a huge effect on the environment.”

Brenda Rainville, a resident of Cougar Ridge, said that the smell from compost can be controlled by putting all scraps in the freezer until pickup day.

“I didn’t like that idea at first, but it helped prevent the odour.”

“I’m very pleased that my garbage has gone down significantly,” said Rainville.

“It’s important to remember why we are doing this.”

An online article by Calgary Sun said that the green cart program could keep more than 90,000 tonnes of food and yard waste out of the dump by 2025.

Additionally, with new bylaws, the city could institute fines if residents refuse to compost.

However, Pham said that he feels a little skeptical about enforcing the practice, because some people might not see the actual environmental benefits of composting.

“The biggest obstacle is to get the public to think differently about what it means to throw something away.” 

Going Green: Michael Pham, a resident of Dalhousie, prepares food scraps and yard waste for collection in Calgary on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. “Although I like the idea of composting, it takes time to get used to this habit.” (Photo by Linh Hoang/The Press)
About Linh Hoang 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Linh Hoang worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.

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