Courtenay residents will soon have a new curbside collection service for food waste such as banana peels, stale bread, meat scraps and dirty pizza boxes, diverting them from garbage cans and extending the life of the Comox Valley’s landfill.
Starting January, single-residential and duplex households can place waste at the curb for composting, along with weekly yard waste. The new organics service will also introduce a 360-litre weekly limit for combined volume of yard and food waste. If exceeding 360 litres, take waste to the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre, or use the Courtenay Collects app to determine the best course of action.
Residents may choose to mix or “co-mingle” yard and food waste using collection cans or containers, and yard waste bags, and/or set out an additional small container for kitchen waste collection. The new service will lower garbage volumes in the regional Waste Management Centre in Cumberland, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Collected organics will be delivered to the new Campbell River Waste Management Centre facility under construction, expected to be complete late this year.
Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said the new program is an important step forward in supporting the environment and lowering long-term infrastructure costs.
“Countless people have asked me over the years why Courtenay doesn’t have compost collection,” said Wells. “The city has long hoped to participate in a curbside organics program, but until now there simply hasn’t been a facility large enough to accommodate our population. We’re thrilled this new service will add much-needed resilience and longevity to the regional landfill. We hope our residents will take full advantage.”
Starting in the new year, weekly collection of co-mingled organics per household will be limited to 360 litres, weighing up to 20 kg or 44 pounds per container. With standard yard waste bags typically holding up to 115 litres, and regular garbage cans between 80 and 120 litres, each household may place up to three or four cans or bags of organics weekly, depending on total volume for all containers.
New weekly volume limits will make the service, and associated costs of collection and tipping fees more equitable across households with curbside collection, which all pay the same annual flat rate utility fee. New limits will help reduce potential for collection delays during peak volume periods, delivering a more stable and reliable collection service at a level consistent with most other B.C. jurisdictions that offer organics programs.
It is estimated that organics comprise around 30 per cent of materials disposed at landfills. Courtenay anticipates the program could divert an additional 1,200 tonnes of organics out of the landfill annually, roughly the weight of 44 grey whales, and instead convert it to nutrient-rich compost for agricultural and landscaping uses.
The addition of weekly curbside organics collection is an important step in the transition to the automated collection service that is coming to Courtenay and Comox in 2024. Households with curbside collection will receive three new carts for garbage, organics and recycling prior to the launch of the service.
To get reminders before collection day, updates on what’s happening, and opportunities to win prizes as the rollout of the new service approaches, download the Courtenay Collects app in the Google Play or Apple Store.