Residents of the Garibaldi Highlands area of Squamish are going to be used as garbage guinea pigs.
Squamish Council has approved a residential yard waste pilot project that is scheduled to begin in August. Carney's Waste Systems, the company that currently collects the residential waste in all communities from Lions Bay to D'arcy, will pick up yard waste from homes in the Garibaldi Highlands every second Saturday.
The District of Squamish (DOS) is prepared to pay Carney's up to $20,000 to conduct the test, but a report from the staff indicated the proposal from Carney's indicated the cost of the project is expected to be about $10,000.
Rod MacLeod, the capital projects manager with the DOS, told members of Squamish Council that a group of university students pulled apart all the garbage on a residential garbage truck recently and weighed it as part of a study for a report on waste management. The students found that 12 per cent of the material in the truck was compostable yard waste.
"The total load was 50 per cent compostable," he said.
According to MacLeod, all the material collected through the pilot project will go to the Whistler composter where it will be turned into soil.
"I think out of this little pilot project we'll get some really good information," he added.
Brian Barnett, the general manager of engineering and parks, said the pilot project will continue into the fall and the households participating in the pilot program will be the homes that have residential garbage pickup service on Thursdays.
The yard waste can be put into paper bags, regular garbage cans or rental totes from Carney's and then placed at the curb for pickup.
The purpose of the pilot project is to test the yard waste collection method and confirm costs before a district-wide program is launched.
In 2011, Squamish residents put 18,095 tonnes of waste out to the curb for collection. Of that amount, 6,360 tonnes was recycled and 11,735 tonnes was buried in the landfill. DOS staff anticipates that a residential yard waste collection program will divert at least another 600 tonnes of waste material from the landfill.
MacLeod said if the pilot project goes well, the entire community is expected to have curbside yard waste collection by next year.
The long-term plan for Squamish calls for the organic waste collection program to be expanded by 2016 to include the collection of kitchen waste. Councillor Patricia Heintzman wanted to know if the timeline could be shortened and MacLeod said if council directed staff to move more quickly it could be done.