July 21st, 2024

Hatters seemingly ready for food waste collection

By Medicine Hat News on June 13, 2024.

@MedicineHatNews

Surveys suggest a majority of Hatters are on board with separating food waste from general refuse for collection, but the effort should be cost-effective, good for the environment and convenient.

The city’s environmental utilities department held the survey this spring after implementing a pilot project for about 4,000 homeowners when green-bin collection began.

A survey of those taking part, and an online questionnaire open to all Hatters, found that three-quarters of respondents would “very likely” (64 per cent) or “somewhat likely” (12 per cent) take part if the effort was expanded city wide.

About 13 per cent were “very unlikely” and 6 per cent were unsure.

In the pilot, residents on specific blocks in each of the city’s five collection zones were given smaller, under-counter bins for food scraps – including vegetable matter, meat, bones, cooked food and paper soiled with grease – to be emptied into green yard waste carts.

That material is picked up on usual pickup days and is deposited at the composting facility at the city’s landfill, where compost is sold, and where provincial carbon credits are earned for avoiding burying grass, leaves and wood.

Lethbridge introduced curbside food waste collection in conjunction with yard waste service in 2023, joining a number of other cities that hoped to conserve space in municipal landfills.

Of those taking part in the Hat pilot, only 10 per cent expressed having more concern than excitement about participating.

Top benefits noted were diverting organic waste from the landfill (388 out of 1,400 responses), producing compost (284) and creating shared environmental responsibility and awareness (236).

Top concerns were potential of added cost (338), mess (244), no concerns (169) and finding room for the under-counter bin (129).

The pilot project will run through December, and further community engagement is planned.

[Editors Note: This is an updated version of the original article that corrects several points of information. The current pilot involves 4,000 households, “very Likely support” was 64 per cent, and Lethbridge began its program in 2023.]

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