Curbside Organic Waste Collection

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Current status
The project shifts into Phase 2 - Pilot Program - in September 2021. View a map of the pilot routes below. Downloadable maps for each pilot route are also available in the Document Library on this page.

Background
In December 2020, Council authorized staff to move ahead with a three-phased approach to developing a residential organics collection program. An organic waste collection program will help residents divert more waste from the landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and return organic material to the soil ecosystem. Did you know? Organic waste makes up approximately 38% of all residential waste that ends up at our landfill? This material utilizes valuable landfill space and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions (primarily methane) in our community.


Organic Waste
What is organic waste? Organic waste can broadly be thought of as anything that used to be alive. It refers primarily to food waste and food-soiled paper and can also include household plants/flowers and some yard waste. Kitchen food scraps include cooked food (leftovers) or unused or spoiled grains, dairy, produce, and meat. Bones, egg/seafood shells, and small amounts of fat, grease, and oils are also organic waste. Food-soiled paper products are often compostable and are suitable for organic waste collection. These include paper napkins, paper towel, food-soiled newsprint, pizza boxes, coffee grinds/filters and tea bags, as well as wooden chopsticks, popsicle sticks, and skewers. Read our FAQs for a developing list of what can and can not be included in a 'green' bin.

Collection
With the program, residential residents will each receive two bins—a small kitchen bin (approximately 1 cu. ft. in size) and a curbside cart. The kitchen bin would typically be stored on a counter next to a sink, or underneath the sink. It may be lined with newsprint for ease of emptying and cleanliness, and has a lid that snaps shut to help eliminate any odour and fruit flies. When the kitchen bin is full, the food waste is transferred to the curbside cart, which can be stored alongside your garbage and recycling carts. The size of the curbside cart and the frequency of collection are yet to be determined. We will learn more as we conduct research, hear from residents and conduct a pilot program.

Why Now?

A curbside organic waste collection program is estimated to reduce the community’s carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 2,800 tonnes per year (equivalent to removing about 600 passenger vehicles) and save the City $1 million annually in costs related to landfill capacity. Outcomes of organic waste collection in Kamloops also align with waste reduction goals outlined in the City’s Official Community Plan–KAMPLAN–and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s Solid Waste Management Plan, which aim to reduce waste to the landfill to 560 kg/person annually by 2023 (in 2019, the disposal rate was 750 kg/person annually). Recent (fall 2020) public engagement for the Community Climate Action Plan showed organic waste collection as one of the top three policy changes supported by residents.


Funding opportunities for Canadian municipalities to implement curbside organic waste collection programs have also expanded in recent years, and City staff have identified grant opportunities through the Green Municipal Fund and CleanBC to support the funding for this project.

Current status
The project shifts into Phase 2 - Pilot Program - in September 2021. View a map of the pilot routes below. Downloadable maps for each pilot route are also available in the Document Library on this page.

Background
In December 2020, Council authorized staff to move ahead with a three-phased approach to developing a residential organics collection program. An organic waste collection program will help residents divert more waste from the landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and return organic material to the soil ecosystem. Did you know? Organic waste makes up approximately 38% of all residential waste that ends up at our landfill? This material utilizes valuable landfill space and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions (primarily methane) in our community.


Organic Waste
What is organic waste? Organic waste can broadly be thought of as anything that used to be alive. It refers primarily to food waste and food-soiled paper and can also include household plants/flowers and some yard waste. Kitchen food scraps include cooked food (leftovers) or unused or spoiled grains, dairy, produce, and meat. Bones, egg/seafood shells, and small amounts of fat, grease, and oils are also organic waste. Food-soiled paper products are often compostable and are suitable for organic waste collection. These include paper napkins, paper towel, food-soiled newsprint, pizza boxes, coffee grinds/filters and tea bags, as well as wooden chopsticks, popsicle sticks, and skewers. Read our FAQs for a developing list of what can and can not be included in a 'green' bin.

Collection
With the program, residential residents will each receive two bins—a small kitchen bin (approximately 1 cu. ft. in size) and a curbside cart. The kitchen bin would typically be stored on a counter next to a sink, or underneath the sink. It may be lined with newsprint for ease of emptying and cleanliness, and has a lid that snaps shut to help eliminate any odour and fruit flies. When the kitchen bin is full, the food waste is transferred to the curbside cart, which can be stored alongside your garbage and recycling carts. The size of the curbside cart and the frequency of collection are yet to be determined. We will learn more as we conduct research, hear from residents and conduct a pilot program.

Why Now?

A curbside organic waste collection program is estimated to reduce the community’s carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 2,800 tonnes per year (equivalent to removing about 600 passenger vehicles) and save the City $1 million annually in costs related to landfill capacity. Outcomes of organic waste collection in Kamloops also align with waste reduction goals outlined in the City’s Official Community Plan–KAMPLAN–and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s Solid Waste Management Plan, which aim to reduce waste to the landfill to 560 kg/person annually by 2023 (in 2019, the disposal rate was 750 kg/person annually). Recent (fall 2020) public engagement for the Community Climate Action Plan showed organic waste collection as one of the top three policy changes supported by residents.


Funding opportunities for Canadian municipalities to implement curbside organic waste collection programs have also expanded in recent years, and City staff have identified grant opportunities through the Green Municipal Fund and CleanBC to support the funding for this project.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded. This Q&A was open for one month from February 5 to March 5. We received so many great questions! We would like to thank everyone for taking the time to ask their questions. We will use the questions and answers we provided to develop more FAQs. Please subscribe to receive project updates on this page to stay up-to-date on future public engagement opportunities, including a community survey to be launched on this page in the spring.

 

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    you do know methane breaks down in the atmosphere naturally within a short time compared to CO2? so why would you spend millions to save nothing but space in a hole in the ground...you say it would save the city one million a year- please provide these facts and full disclosure to the public for review of the facts.

    KBS asked 7 months ago

    Hello there,

    Thanks for your comments. 

    Methane does break down more quickly than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but it has 28 times more impact on temperature than carbon dioxide.  Reducing methane through organic waste collection is one of many actions that the City is planning to reduce the community's overall GHG emissions. For more information on other initiatives that will reduce community emissions visit the Community Climate Action Plan Let's Talk website. 

    We are in the planning stages of the curbside organics program and the exact numbers will only be known once the program is fully implemented. However, based on the most recent waste composition study, 38% of household waste is organic waste that can be diverted through curbside organic waste collection. 

    This equates to approximately 5800 tonnes of waste per each year. The estimated $1 million in landfill airpspace savings is calculated by multiplying the amount of airspace saved, by the highest rate for materials that can consume that airspace, so 5800 tonnes x $160/tonne = $928,000.

    The cost savings of $1M is not a reflection of annual landfill operating expense, but rather the value of landfill airspace saved each year by not burying organic waste. This airspace then becomes available for consumption by materials that currently cannot be recycled/repurposed and allows the City to defer large-scale capital costs related to landfill expansion.

    Thank you for your follow up. 

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Is the intention to get everybody on board or will I have the choice to opt out. I use my own compost for my garden and it wouldn’t make sense to me to have to pay to have it picked up and pay again to get some back for my garden as we do now from Cinnamon ridge,

    Rambler asked 7 months ago

    Hello there,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Wonderful to hear that you are a composter! We are hearing that many backyard composters would like the opportunity to opt-out of the program.

    The biggest concern is that we want to make sure we are getting ALL of the organics out of the garbage, and some types of organic waste is more challenging to compost at home because it attracts vermin (cooked foods, meat), takes longer to breakdown (yard waste), or requires high temperature (compostable plastics).

    We are researching how “opt-out” options are incorporated into organics collection programs run by other communities and will look to see how an “opt-out” option could potentially be incorporated into the program being developed for Kamloops.

    Thank you for your interest in this project. If you haven't already, please subscribe to receive project updates on the Let’s Talk Organics page.

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    As apart of this strategy will the City expand the free composting bin program for those of us who would prefer to compost at home, such as myself. I have never been able to access the program I. 10 years due to limited supply. Otherwise I think a City program for those who do t want to, or can’t compost at home is a great next step.

    Joanna asked 7 months ago

    Hi there Joanna,

    Thanks for your comments.

    The TNRD operates a program where they provide backyard compost bins and green cone food waste digesters at a subsidized rate for residents. This program has been available to City of Kamloops residents, however this is not run by the City. You can contact the regional district to get more information and future plans for this program at 250-377-2596 or recycleright@tnrd.ca

    Thank you for your interest in this project. It's great to hear support for this program. If you haven't already, please subscribe to receive project updates on the Let’s Talk Organics page.

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    So happy the city is putting this forward! I think Kamloops also has some great resources to contact regarding composting, from the services that currently exist. I think a public, curb-side pick-up could really help bridge the gap for people who can't access those that exist in our city right now. Currently, there's a private company (Friendly Composting) to whom we subscribe. They also deliver local groceries. Not so much a question, I just think they would be a great resource to consult. I'm not sure for how long they've been operational exactly, but I know they have grown a lot and I think they cover a good portion of Kamloops. TRU was also collecting compost before the pandemic, and with their service, you could compost animal products as well. I believe they had the compost facility on campus, and the sustainability coordinator would also be a great contact I think.

    beverly16 asked 7 months ago

    Hello there Beverly,

    Thanks for your comments. It is great to hear support for this program! 

    In regard to local composting services, we are aware of small private organic waste collection and processing businesses in the community and will look to properly understand what impacts a City-run collection program may have, as well as to see how we can support each other in increasing overall organic waste diversion across the community.

    To speak to your comments re: TRU...yes, James is a great resource :) We have a working relationship with TRU’s Sustainability Division, we collect garbage and recycling at the university (which is managed by this office) and we have collaborated with them on a number of projects over the years. 

    TRU is a leader in our community for waste management; they were able to overcome the challenge of diverting organic waste where there are limited options for composting by doing it themselves.  They have since started contracting with a local farmer to take their food waste due to many challenges of on-site composting such as odour concerns and equipment failure.  

    Thank you for your interest in this project. If you haven't already, please subscribe to receive project updates on the Let’s Talk Organics page.

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    As a composter for many years of household waste I question the premise that tea bags,coffee grounds,paper towels and napkins can’t be composter. Even though there might be a small amount of grease or cooked food on the paper products I’m sure it’s not an issue. Also ask the people downtown whether rats can eat through plastic bins!

    Lynne asked 7 months ago

    Hi there Lynne,

    Thanks for your comment. Thank you for being an active composter! What you are doing already supports one of the main goals of the organic waste collection program which is to keep as much (organic) waste out of the landfill as possible.

    To clarify, we understand that many items can be safely composted in backyard systems, including tea bags, coffee grounds, paper towels and napkins. If some people find these items are difficult to compost at home, or if they don't want to include them in their home composting, they can be included in organic waste collection (rather than go the garbage).  

    Regarding your comments about rats - our research into wildlife impacts in communities with organics programs has informed us that vermin are not a major issue. However, potential conflicts with wildlife, including rats, is something the City would monitor as part of the Pilot Program in Phase 2.  

    Thanks again for your comments. If you are interested in following the project, please subscribe to receive project updates on the Let’s Talk Organics page.

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Good morning, I have a comment not a question. I own a rental on Columbia St and lived in Kamloops for 8 years. I have since moved to Calgary where They implemented an organic waste collection program since I’ve lived here, and I LOVE it. As a family of of 4 we generate usually an ice cream pail of waste a day. One benefit that I really love is I collect Protein grease from the pan with paper towel and put it right into the compost instead of having the grungy can of grease under the sink. It is noticeable how little garbage we generate and easily do not fill our garbage bin and they are only picked up every 2 weeks. One difference between Calgary and Kamloops is that here we do not have the excellent yard waste facilities you have in Kamloops. So we put yard waste in our bin too. I find in winter, with our cold weather often my compost bin freezes up because I am only putting in kitchen waste, which is usually more wet and denser sonit makes a mess of the bin. It bothers some people. But I don’t really worry about it. But when I have yard waste generally spring, fall, summer, I try and put that in first and the food waste on top so it empties easier. I am a huge fan of the program. And when I go to places that don’t have it I miss it.

    Damien asked 7 months ago

    Hello there Damien, 

    Thank you for the comments – it’s great to hear support for this program. It’s really commendable how little garbage your family creates! One of the main goals of an organic waste collection program is to keep as much (organic) waste out of the garbage/landfill as possible, so we love hearing about individuals or families whose actions support waste diversion efforts. 

    Our garbage audits show that up to 38% of residential garbage is organic waste. A curbside organic collection program will help to divert this waste from the garbage stream and, as you allude to, can result in having less household garbage overall, which also supports adjusting garbage collection schedules from weekly to bi-weekly (something we will be testing in the pilot program). 

    To speak to your comment about composting kitchen grease – yes! The organic waste collection bins will accept this and it’s a great way to compost grease-soiled paper that can’t be included in home composting bins. Other food-soiled paper products are accepted too, such as napkins and greasy pizza boxes. 

    With regard to yard waste and layering – we are learning through our research into other municipalities’ programs that this is a good technique - when food scraps are layered with dried yard and garden waste, the dry material soaks up the wet materials (helping to prevent the organics from freezing to the inside of the container in winter months), and layering is also effective at minimizing odours that can attract wildlife.

    Thanks again for your comments. If you are interested in following the project, please subscribe to receive project updates on the Let’s Talk Organics page.

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    We are so looking forward to a curbside organic waste collection, after having one for many years in Port Coquitlam! We found it reduced our regular garbage significantly and we felt good that we were helping the planet. We made our own newspaper liners for the kitchen bins. There are many videos on YouTube and here's one of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-edeA1Smho0

    LindaC asked 7 months ago

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks for your comments, and thanks for sharing this video! 

    That's a great visual for a very simple how-to for creating your own kitchen bin liner with newspaper. We will eventually look to create our own education materials and videos as well, but it's great to hear there are free resources and videos out there already. 

    To speak to your comment about reducing the amount of household garbage - our garbage audits show that up to 38% of residential garbage is organic waste. A curbside organic collection program will help to divert this waste from the garbage/landfill, and as you mention, can result in having less household garbage overall.

    It's great to hear support for this program! If you haven't already, please subscribe to receive project updates on the Let’s Talk Organics page.

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Would there be a specific day assigned or would it coordinate with garbage day?

    Arlana asked 7 months ago

    Hi there Ariana,

    Thank you for this question. 

    Our garbage audits show that up to 38% of residential garbage is organic waste. A curbside organic collection program will help to divert this waste from the garbage stream and can result in having less household garbage overall, thereby potentially supporting a move from weekly garbage pick up, to bi-weekly pick up.  

    During the pilot phase we will be testing weekly organics collection with bi-weekly garbage and recycling collection to see if this model of collection will work in our community. In this scenario, the collection schedule (day) would likely remain the same, but the container(s) put out would alternate depending on the week.

    We will monitor the program and provide continuous education to help residents understand any adjustments to collection schedules. 

    We encourage residents to use the Waste Wise app as well – you can sign up to receive notifications about your collection schedule to your phone so you never miss a collection day (search Waste Wise Kamloops in your app store, or for desktop use, visit Kamloops.ca/WasteWise and type in your address). 

    Thank you for your interest in this project. If you haven't already, please subscribe to receive project updates on the Let's Talk Organics page.

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    We already compost most of our organic waste. We have the smallest garbage bin & could honestly have it picked up once a month ( that’s how much actual garbage we generate with 2 people in our household, everything else is composted) Hopefully ywe will have the option of participating. It is a good idea for apartments & townhouses.

    Peggy asked 7 months ago

    Hi there Peggy, 

    Thanks for your comment/question. Thank you for being an active composter! We really commend your actions to reduce the amount of garbage you put out, and what you are doing already supports one of the main goals of the organic waste collection program which is to keep as much (organic) waste out of the landfill as possible.

    One thing to note with respect to those who already compost at home is that there are items that will be accepted in organic waste collection that should not, or are difficult to, compost at home. These items include meat, bones, oils, fats, and cooked foods, as well as food-soiled paper products like pizza boxes, napkins, paper towel, newsprint, coffee grinds and filters, and tea bags.

    Regarding your question about the option to participate – we will consider possible exemptions for residents already engaged in composting their organic waste, and what impacts possible exemptions may have on the implementation of a community-wide collection program.  

    Regarding your comments about apartments – yes, eventually, they will be included. We are committed to diverting organic waste from the landfill and will be phasing in additional organic waste diversion programs over the next eight to ten years. Organic waste collection at multi-family complexes will eventually be planned once we establish household collection.

    Thank you for your interest in this project. If you haven't already, please subscribe to receive project updates on the Let's Talk Organics page.

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    I lived in Vancouver when this was started there. The amount of rats and wildlife that took over the area was insane. Don’t you think with our bears, cougars, raccoons, mice, pack rats and coyotes we have enough to worry about than supplying a buffet every week for them?

    E asked 7 months ago

    Hello there,

    Thank you for your comment/question. 

    We are researching best practices with respect to wildlife management and will build these into the program. 

    There are a number of other municipalities with existing organics collection programs who also have concerns regarding wildlife.  We are reaching out to these municipalities to understand their specific concerns and how they are currently being addressed.  As part of the overall wildlife strategy, we are also investigating options for bear-resistant containers.  

    Wildlife is attracted to organic waste, whether that is in the garbage or an organics cart. Currently, organic waste is managed in garbage containers or backyard composters, therefore, the attractant is already present in the current program. Organic waste collection will allow for separating the organic waste for the purposes of collection.

    Proper container storage and maintenance (whether garbage or organics) can also help minimize wildlife attraction. Managing your containers by securing them on your property or in a garage will minimize wildlife and rodent attraction. Containers should be stored with their lids closed at all times.

    We are also learning is that layering food and yard waste in collection carts is a very effective way to reduce odours that attract animals. We will monitor the program and provide continuous education to help residents reduce wildlife impacts.

    Thank you for your interest in this project. If you haven't already, please subscribe to receive project updates on the Let's Talk page.

    Sincerely,
    The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Project Team