The City of Vernon did not anticipate how successful its organics collection pilot program would be when it launched over the summer with a budget of $5,000, but due to high demand, the program ran out of cash quickly.
“The city estimated the bins would need to be emptied approximately once per week, which would mean the pilot should have lasted about a year,” city communications manager Christy Poirier said. “However, with very little advertising and a lot of word of mouth, the program took off in a way we didn’t anticipate.”
The project’s $5,000 budget was funded through the Climate Action Revolving Fund.
“Collection from the bins had to be increased, which used the funds faster and shortened the length of time the pilot could operate (by about half),” she said.
The program began with two organics collection bins placed behind City Hall and the Schubert Centre with materials being collected twice a week by Spa Hills Compost. More than 232,000 pounds of food waste was diverted from the landfill in that time, the company said.
The food waste collected from businesses and homes is transformed into chemical-free fertilizer by Spa Hills Compost and used to farm the land where it grows wheat, corn and crops to feed livestock. Finished compost is also sold by Spa Hills Compost.
“We could say it’s a good problem to have,” Poirier said. “It shows community members were pleased with the program and the option to compost, diverting organic materials away from the landfill.”
The program is coming to an end on Nov. 4 and the city is seeking input and gathering data so “future recommendations can be developed,” Poirier said.
A survey is now open at engagevernon.ca and consists of six questions geared toward how often people used the bins and other composting options they would like to see in Vernon.