Many Mission residents are still throwing out food waste and recyclables in their garbage bags.
A new report to council indicated that the curbside garbage stream in Mission contained 28 per cent compostables and 14 per cent recyclable materials.
Those figures come from the district’s bi-annual 2015 curbside waste audit. The audit examines waste from 100 random single-family homes and helps identify areas that need improvement.
Mayor Randy Hawes said the amount of recyclables and food waste being thrown out is still “pretty significant” and more needs to be removed.
The compostables found in curbside garbage bags consisted of food waste (83 per cent), contaminated paper (16 per cent) and yard waste (one per cent).
The breakdown of recyclables found in household garbage is plastics (37 per cent), paper (21 per cent), EPR materials (15 per cent), other depot-drop materials (eight per cent), metal (eight per cent), glass (six per cent) and refundable beverage containers (five per cent).
EPR (Extended Producer Respon-sibility) materials include household batteries, lightbulbs and other items than can be recycled, but should be dropped off at a recycling depot, not placed in garbage or blue bags.
Overall waste reduction targets are required by the Fraser Valley Regional District’s approved Solid Waste Management Plan. Municipalities are required to achieve a goal of 65 per cent diversion by 2018.
In 2015, Mission was at 53 per cent diversion of curbside waste and 17 per cent for landfill drop-off.
The district is currently examining two initiatives to improve the landfill percentages. One is to implement and enforce disposal bans at the Mission landfill and the other is to investigate mandatory waste diversion for the institutional, commercial and industrial sectors.
One initiative that will begin in April is the move to bi-weekly garbage collection.
Beginning April 4, residents will be allowed to place up to two 80-litre cans of garbage, not exceeding 20 kg in weight, for pickup.
The garbage will be collected once every two weeks. Compostables and recyclables will still be collected in unlimited amounts once a week.
“I think this will drive people to actually do the right thing and it will improve our diversion rates but then there will be some people who will probably keep doing what they’re doing, but they’ll throw their bags of garbage on the side of the road somewhere,” said Hawes.
He suggested it may be a good idea to create a reward system to help deter illegal dumping, adding people who notice dumpers could snap an iPhone photo to catch them in the act.