It’s been a year since the City introduced the blue box program to allow residents to recycle their goods in hopes of diverting waste from landfill, and the program is looking successful so far.
Through the trial period, the City has been receiving feedback that they will use to measure the success of the program and to adjust the service.
“We’re at about a 16.5 per cent diversion rate, but I think that’s going to pick up when we have the program in place longer. We’re seeing a diversion that is quite a bit lower than the provincial average, but it’s very, very different to compare them apples-to-apples in community to community,” said Matthew Goudy, infrastructure services director with the City.
“For example, we don’t include organic waste in the diversion numbers – grass clippings, yard waste. That’s simply because we don’t weigh it right now, and we have no method of weighing it.”
The City has completed one year out of five with their contractor. It will continue to seek to reduce landfill waste by promoting greater usage of the blue box system.
“People are getting more used to it, we have seen better usage. One thing is that there are a lot of households that are using it on a bi-weekly basis, rather than a weekly basis, and then there are some that are overflowing every week and have multiple bins,” Goudy said.
“It’s a little bit tough to tailor a system like that with a one-size-fits-all approach. We are in a contract, but we can make adjustments.”
He said although things like vacations and weather impact pick-up rates, about 75% of Lacombe families are using the blue boxes on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Available on the City of Lacombe web site is information on which items are acceptable to place in the blue box, and which items are not. All blue boxes must be set out before 7 a.m. on collection day. Extra blue boxes are available for purchase at City Hall, and additional overflow items may be placed beside the box in a clear plastic bag for collection.