On Wednesday, council adopted a plan that will change the way the city collects organic material. The plan will move the city away from a strictly loose-in-the street collection method to one that combines seasonal and scheduled street pick-up with containerized collection of organic materials.
Staff presented council with the following 4 options, all of which include the distribution of a 95-gallon cart to each residence, allowing for weekly collection of food scraps and other compostable materials along with yard waste:
1) Weekly carts collection only, no loose street pick up
2a) Weekly carts collection plus seasonal street pick up & 4 free on-call pick ups other 10 months.
2b) Weekly cart collection plus seasonal street pick up & quarterly free scheduled pick ups other 10 months.
3) Weekly carts collection plus one free on call pick up (additional will have a fee).
Summary of Program Options
|Option||Seasonal Street Pick- up||On-Call Pick-Up||Weekly Street Sweeping||Food Scraps||Days of yard material in street||Potential Cost (green waste + street sweep)|
After some discussion council voted to approve a motion made by Brett Lee that slightly varied Option 2(a). Lee’s proposal increased the number of scheduled loose-in-street collection pick-ups from 4 a year to 10.
After questioning DWR about the cost of the different options Lee put forward his proposal, arguing that a plan which offered a higher frequency of available street pick-up would better meet the varied needs of the community without significantly increasing the expense.
Under this plan residents will receive a 95-gallon green waste cart for yard waste, food scraps, and other compostable materials that will be collected weekly on a year-round basis. Loose in the street weekly collection will occur for 2 months of the year, and tentative dates for collection are Oct. 15-Dec 15. For the remaining 10 months of the year one loose-in-street collection day will scheduled. Council advocated for DWR to implement a consistent monthly pick-up schedule in order to minimize confusion.
While several council members acknowledged that increased cyclist safety was one of the benefits associated with a green waste containerization program they wanted to make it clear to the public that this was not the driving force behind this policy change.
Frerichs, Wolk, and Swanson all expressed concern that the city would not be able to renew its storm water quality permit if it continued with a exclusive loose in the street collection method.
Public Works Director Bob Clarke explained that city currently operates under a state-wide general storm water quality permit and the language of the permit requires best management practices. He stated that ”there are a number of people in the regulatory world who don’t believe that loose pick-up of green waste is the best management practice.” He predicted that the regional board will soon decide that loose leaf pick-up is no longer an acceptable practice due to its negative impacts on storm water quality.
Mayor Krovoza focused on the composting benefits that a containerization program offers. He emphasized that for the city to reach its 75% waste reaction goal a food scrap collection program is necessary. He stated, ”We can’t go to composting of food scraps without exorbitantly high cost unless we go to green waste containerization”.
It is uncertain when DWR will be ready to begin implementation of this new organic waste collection system but it seems unlikely that it will occur this year.
Despite this delay, council urged staff to begin outreach efforts soon to educate the public about the changes that will come with this new policy.