It took almost seven years, but Oak Bay’s kitchen scraps recycling program is finally expanding with district-wide collection starting in the new year.
In January 2013, Oak Bay public works superintendent Phil Barnett said all residents will be mandated to participate in the kitchen scraps recycling program starting January 2014. True to his word, green wheeled totes, a kitchen catcher and information about the kitchen scraps program started arriving at people’s doors in late November.
Since 2006, 1,048 homes have been participating in what was supposed to be a two-year pilot project, lead by the Capital Regional District. View Royal was also part of this pilot.
“In the 2006 pilot, they were trying to figure out how much of the garbage was kitchen scraps,” Barnett said. “The CRD paid for two years to analyze every load of garbage.”
After two years, the CRD had all the information they needed and wanted to shut down the pilot project. However, because the CRD was planning to implement a regional kitchen scraps recycling program at that time, Oak Bay decided to temporarily take over.
“The mayor, council and public works decided to keep it going,” Barnett said. “Why get all these households educated to recycle kitchen scraps and then take their green totes away, only to give it back to them again.”
The regional kitchen scraps collection roll-out was expected shortly after, but didn’t happen.
CRD environmental sustainability coordinator Monique Booth said municipalities vetoed having a regional kitchen scraps program in 2010, deciding each municipality will run its own. The CRD is banning kitchen scraps from landfills in 2015. In anticipation of that ban, Victoria started its program in 2013 and Esquimalt and Sidney will start theirs in 2014.
Mayor Nils Jensen said response from the pilot project was positive.
“It’s an excellent project, one that has been anticipated by many of the residents,” Jensen said in November. “This program is going to be in place right throughout the CRD, which means substantially less material going into Hartland (landfill).”
Leftover food, bones, paper napkins and cooking grease are among the many organic items that will be collected through the kitchen scraps recycling program. More information can be found at oakbay.com or by calling public works at 250-598-4501.