Why can't I opt out of food waste collection?
I have debated long and hard whether opting out of organics pickup should be an option for us in the Creek. Initially I thought it was a given, but after some debate with other directors and members of the community, I believe that providing that option is not in the best interest of our community. Here is why:
- Very few people (apparently less than 50 people in Gibsons) divert 100% of their organics and are opting out. 100% includes bones (burning is not acceptable), meat scraps, soiled paper and cardboard, and compostable packaging.
- The administrative cost of opting out (creating, reviewing and verifying each application) would have to be paid for by those not opting out - is that fair? People opting out will have to re-apply every year, because the district can’t keep track of properties changing hands and who is doing what. That means the administrative burden will be on-going.
- There are virtually no cost savings in the program if people opt out, meaning that those that don’t opt out will have to pay more. The truck will still be driving by.
- There are many other services that we all pay for whether we use them or not - schools, recreation, libraries. They are services that everyone cost-shares because we see the collective value in them, and they would be unaffordable if not everyone paid for them. We are looking at the end of our landfill.
- We have to get organics out of our garbage. Ideally every household should be composting their own scraps in bear-resistant composters, but it seems that this is not realistic given current disposal habits. Curbside pickup is the most cost-effective way we can do this right now while meeting the public where they are at. Diverting food waste reduces greenhouse gas emissions as food waste decomposes anaerobically in the landfill, creating methane, which is 21 times as bad as Carbon Dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
- Even if you dispose of your organics in a way that is 100% responsible (no risk of wildlife interaction, no burning of bones, etc.) there is no guarantee your neighbour does or will… creating rodent, bear and other issues.
- The increase in cost will be partially offset (approx. 50%) by reducing our curbside garbage pickup to bi-weekly.