Just weeks before the Capital Regional District begins seeking proponents willing to haul and process residential kitchen scraps, the Township of Esquimalt has agreed to be part of the interim contract.
Following on the heels of Victoria, which will begin diverting kitchen scraps from the garbage early next year, Esquimalt is also making preparations ahead of a food-waste ban at Hartland Landfill that comes into effect in 2015.
The CRD’s processing contract would be offered in 2013 and 2014. It would give municipalities such as Victoria, Esquimalt and potentially Saanich, View Royal, Oak Bay and Sidney, enough time to develop their own strategies prior to the ban on dairy products, eggs, vegetables, grains, fruits, seafood, meat, bones and soiled paper.
“What the hope is, is that a private contractor will set up and develop bigger facilities, and ultimately municipalities will have to source their own processing,” said Russ Smith, the CRD’s senior manager of Environmental Resource Management. “We need to give a bridge, because we know the market isn’t fully matured in terms of kitchen-scrap processing and hauling.”
The diversion of kitchen waste would extend Hartland’s lifespan by five years, to 2035. Household organics make up 30 per cent of Hartland’s waste stream.
“There’s a lot of benefits to it, in the fact that it removes organics, which is the main producer of greenhouse gases like methane,” Jeff Miller, Esquimalt director of engineering and public works, recently told council.
“Utilizing the 30 per cent figure, the amount of household organics that could be diverted would be approximately 540 to 600 tonnes,” Miller wrote in a report, noting that Esquimalt produces between 1,800 and 2,000 tonnes of waste each year.
The cost of the interim processing and hauling contract would be covered by the $107-per-tonne waste tipping fee collected at Hartland, Smith said.
A business case outlining the options and costs of kitchen-scrap collection in Esquimalt is expected to come before council this fall.
Funding for the future purchase of a replacement garbage truck, which would need to be outfitted to collect kitchen waste, has already been set aside in the 2012 municipal budget.
“We don’t have a choice in the matter,” Coun. Tim Morrison said of joining the CRD’s two-year contract. “The costs of not participating are certainly negative for the environment, and the cost for participating will ultimately benefit the entire region.”