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Residents take trash for a spin

Porter Creek residents adore their garbage carts.“We love them,” said Cheri Seaman who lives in the area of Porter Creek selected for…

Porter Creek residents adore their garbage carts.

“We love them,” said Cheri Seaman who lives in the area of Porter Creek selected for the city’s garbage/compost cart pilot project.

“I think the biggest thing is the bags, especially for the compost,” she said.

“The biodegradable bags were quite expensive and you couldn’t fill them up because if you did they’d be too heavy to lift.

“With the carts you don’t need to worry about bags and all of that, you just dump it in.”

Two 240-litre carts were distributed to 500 homes in Porter Creek, a black one for garbage and a green one for compost.

This is the second phase of the city’s green cart pilot, which began using the carts for the Canada Winter Games.

After only 12 weeks with the carts, composting participation increased from 22 per cent to 65.8 per cent in the pilot area.

These statistics were compared with another area, also in Porter Creek, which showed only a slight increase in participation, from 18 to 21 per cent.

In the pilot area, the average weight of composting collected from June to August increased fourfold.

However, that may just be a bump from the summer’s yard clippings, said city officials.

The city will continue to monitor waste collection throughout the fall and winter.

All of the extra composting has meant that collection time has more than doubled.

There were also some problems with the city’s packer truck hoppers not being deep enough to handle the extra loads.

Despite all of this, public works employees are enjoying the new program.

Collection trucks have been mounted with lifters compatible with the new carts, reducing the amount of physical lifting.

This means less back strain for packer operators and a reduced risk of injury from sharp objects, like glass and needles.

While six residents refused the carts in the first week, nine requests were received for a second set for legal suites.

Residents of other Whitehorse neighbourhoods have requested the carts, with some asking if they could buy them elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the carts aren’t available for purchase anywhere, administration told council on Monday night.

The pilot project will run until May of next year. Then the city will decide whether to expand the program to the rest of Whitehorse.

Seaman is just one of the happy Porter Creek residents advocating the program’s expansion.

“You can fill them up and it doesn’t matter how much they weigh — that was a big concern before.

“And they’re on wheels, so they’re really easy to get to the curb, that’s a big plus for seniors.

“Mind you, we haven’t had them in the winter yet.”