No reports of bears attracted to organic waste pilot bins, city says

Bears not attracted to carts?

After three weeks of operating its organic waste pickup pilot program, City of Kamloops staff say they haven’t received any reports from residents or conservation officers about wildlife being attracted to the compost carts.

The city has been testing organics collection in certain neighbourhoods to learn what works well and what can be improved for a community-wide program.

In a news release, the city said while it was conducting public consultations, many residents expressed concerns about the potential for wildlife interactions as a result of putting out organics waste carts on the curb.

“Wildlife, including bears, are attracted to the smell of organic waste whether it is in a garbage cart, organics cart, backyard compost, a fruit tree, a BBQ, in bird feeders, or pet food left outdoors,” the city said.

“So far, the city has not received any reports from either pilot residents or conservation officers of bears related to organics carts on pilot routes.”

The city said residents can wrap meat scraps and bones in newspaper or paper towel, layer organics carts with dry material like yard waste, or consider freezing meat and fish scraps until collection day.

Glen Farrow, the city’s streets and environmental services manager, said the biggest challenge for pilot residents has been the shift to biweekly garbage and recycling collection.

“Organics carts are collected weekly, while garbage and recycling carts are now collected on an alternating biweekly basis,” Farrow said.

He said 42 per cent of household trash can be composted, so placing the waste into the organics cart means less garbage overall.

“Recycling collection varies in other communities. We are testing biweekly recycling collection because if it works, then we can minimize costs. We want to see if residents can adjust to biweekly recycling, but we know it will be a challenge for some households.”

Farrow reminded pilot residents that the composting facility currently being used doesn’t accept compostable or biodegradable bin liners — another challenge identified in the pilot.

Instead, bins can be lined with paper-based products like paper bags, cereal boxes or newspaper.

Overall, the city says the pilot program has diverted 32,500 kilograms of organic waste from the landfill in the first three weeks of operation.

“We are happy to see that so many residents started using the carts right away, and we hope to see more organics carts at the curb now that most residents on pilot routes are aware that the pilot has begun,” Farrow said.

Residents whose household was selected for the organic pickup pilot — whether they are using the organics carts or not — are invited to take the first survey on the program.

The survey is open until Oct. 29, and respondents can enter to win one of three $100 gift cards to Downtown Kamloops businesses.

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