City politicians were talking trash on Monday.
And, as a result, residents will probably find it easier to rid themselves of garbage.
City administration is recommending council expand the Green Cart Program throughout the city.
If approved, the program would expand in the spring of 2009.
“In nine years on council, this is one of the most satisfying projects I’ve seen,” said councillor Doug Graham in an uncharacteristic moment of praise.
“It’s amazing how much people have taken to the carts.”
The city’s environmental co-ordinator Pippa McNeil presented a report on the first year of the pilot project.
The presentation displayed pictures of a normal street in Porter Creek, with a few cans of compost out for pickup.
She compared this with a picture of the pilot area, lined with green carts in front of every home.
The city received project funding in April 2007.
An area of approximately 500 homes in Porter Creek was selected to test the new garbage and composting carts.
The pilot project ran from June until May.
Monitors found the carts more than doubled participation in the composting program.
Nearly all of the households in the pilot area put out compostables at least once over the year.
This led to 20 per cent more garbage diverted from the city’s landfills.
Only half of the residents in the control area in another section of Porter Creek composted during the same period.
Because of the extra composting, collection times have doubled.
The city began using the carts during the Canada Winter Games.
The 240-litre carts have built-in wheels, making them easier to get to the curb for children, seniors and the physically challenged.
The carts also eliminate the need for plastic garbage and compost bags.
The expansion, which includes 12,000 new carts, will cost $2.35 million.
It will be paid for entirely with federal gas tax funding.
The pilot project did highlight a number of problems, most in the way of collection.
The mechanical lifters, which had greatly reduced the strain on workers, slow down at minus 25 degrees Celsius.
The lifts become jerky at minus 35 and truck compactors stop working all together at minus 40.
Public Works has said that it will need new, larger trucks to decrease spillage and to cut the number of trips to the landfill.
New dual-compartment trucks would also allow the city to pick up compost and garbage at the same time, significantly decreasing collection time.
Along with the cart system expansion, the city plans to buy three new trucks and implement same-day collection on a biweekly basis.
And because of narrow back lanes and alleys, which cause trouble for larger trucks, collection will be moved to the streets.