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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Carman leads in recycling kitchen waste

In this November photo, Carman town foreman Joe Richardson stands in front of piles of compost at the town’s transfer station. Carman introduced curbside pickup of kitchen scraps three years ago. Yard waste, such as grass clippings and leaves, are also picked up weekly.

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In this November photo, Carman town foreman Joe Richardson stands in front of piles of compost at the town’s transfer station. Carman introduced curbside pickup of kitchen scraps three years ago. Yard waste, such as grass clippings and leaves, are also picked up weekly.

CARMAN — If Winnipeg ever approves trial curbside pickup of kitchen waste, it will probably borrow from existing programs in Carman and Brandon.

In this May photo, green composting bins are stacked and waiting for delivery at Brandon’s Eastview Landfill site.

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In this May photo, green composting bins are stacked and waiting for delivery at Brandon’s Eastview Landfill site. (FILE PHOTO)

Carman is Manitoba’s composting pioneer, introducing curbside pickup of kitchen scraps three years ago.

About 1,300 Carman households were provided with countertop compost pails that have charcoal-lined lids to prevent odour. People leave the green containers, the size of ice cream pails, on the curb every week to be emptied. Yard waste such as grass clippings and leaves are also picked up weekly.

"What I found is after you recycle your bottles and plastics, and now your kitchen waste, the rest of my garbage in a week is no more than a little Safeway bag," said Carman Mayor Bob Mitchell.

The program has reduced Carman’s solid waste by about one-quarter. That saves $30,000 per year on tipping fees. There are also savings in time and fuel costs for not having to haul as much solid waste to a disposal site. But there are extra costs, too, such as the two employees who pick up garbage for composting each Monday. The town has not assessed the costs versus savings.

As extra incentive, residents are limited to a single garbage bag of solid waste per week. Additional bags are $3. (Bringing in a child tax credit nets you an additional free bag per week).

"(The recycling program) has made a huge difference. But you’ve got to make it easy for people to do it," Mitchell said.

But it may not be easy enough. The town estimates only about 30 per cent of residents are recycling their kitchen waste. The program wound up for the season recently — it isn’t run in winter because kitchen waste freezes to the pails.

The City of Brandon is the most recent convert to curbside pickup of kitchen scraps. Its Green Cart program this year began collecting kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee filters, mouldy bread, etc.

The program is city-wide but limited to the first 3,000 households that signed up. An additional 3,000 households can sign up next year, for which there is a waiting list. That means about one-third of Brandon residences will be in the program in 2014.

Starting slowly buys the city time "to get our act together," said Ian Broome, the city’s director of public works. The province provided $300,000 in funding for the program’s first two years.

In its first six months before stopping for the winter, the program diverted 900 tonnes of compostable material away from the landfill. That’s a saving of $56,000 in tipping fees. Perhaps the biggest saving is from prolonging the life of an existing landfill. Up to $100,000 per year has to be set aside over a span of about 40 years to eventually replace a landfill, Broome said.

Brandonites use a large cart on wheels (similar to the ones now used in Winnipeg), with a green lid, just for both household waste and yard waste, such as leaves and grass clippings. (Residents must haul away any additional leaves or grass clippings that don’t fit in the cart to a drop-off depot). That means residents have three carts in total, the others being for solid waste and for recyclables such as newsprint and plastics.

"I think it’s just a matter of time before (recycling kitchen waste) is a common practice everywhere," said Pam Penner, Brandon’s manager of public works.

Both Brandon and Carman give away their compost but program participants in Brandon get first dibs. Last year, someone from Sperling took 180 yards of compost soil from the Carman transfer station. The man was building a new yard and tilled it into the soil. The municipalities also use it in parks and as infill on infrastructure projects.

» Winnipeg Free Press

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 16, 2013

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CARMAN — If Winnipeg ever approves trial curbside pickup of kitchen waste, it will probably borrow from existing programs in Carman and Brandon.

Carman is Manitoba’s composting pioneer, introducing curbside pickup of kitchen scraps three years ago.

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CARMAN — If Winnipeg ever approves trial curbside pickup of kitchen waste, it will probably borrow from existing programs in Carman and Brandon.

Carman is Manitoba’s composting pioneer, introducing curbside pickup of kitchen scraps three years ago.

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