Garbage and green beans. Rubbish and rutabaga.
North Battleford’s residential waste audit results, presented by Assistant Director of Utility Services Tammy MacCormack at council Monday, indicated that half of what residents are putting into their trash is actually compostable.
Mayor Ryan Bater was somewhat taken aback with the findings.
“This audit was an attempt to measure and to track the amount of waste going into the facility, both through the grey garbage bins as well as the blue recycle bins,” Bater said. “It provided some surprising information to council, [but] maybe not to those who were involved in the industry. But to find out that half of everything that goes into the landfill was compostable was a surprise to me.”
Both garbage and recycling bin collections were audited in the study. City staff under direction from the firm S-Cubed Environmental completed the audit. A total of 100 households were audited from various neighbourhoods in the city. Garbage was collected from May 28 to 31 and recycling from June 4 to 7. Staff collected a total of 2,235 kg from the waste bins and 523 kg from recycling bins for the project.
In the garbage stream, the spring audit from household garbage collected showed 50.4 per cent was compostable material, 33.5 per cent was landfill material, 8.7 per cent was recyclable, and 7.5 per cent that should be directed to other diversion programs.
Compostable material in the garbage collection consisted of mainly yard, grass and garden waste, and food waste. Recycling material in the garbage was largely mixed paper, rigid plastics, metal containers and cardboard. Landfill materials in the trash amounted to mainly non-recyclable plastics, hygiene items, diapers and other waste. Items that should be directed to other diversion programs were largely textile products, food jars and donor items such as clothing.
The audit also showed that almost 10 plastic shopping bags per household per week went into the landfill. The mayor said the volume is not significant however the bags are not recyclable and do not degrade so “that is something for us to consider.”