Counting your Trips to the Curb

For those who remember the NWEP’s campaign around the roll-out of the automated trash bins, we put a lot of effort into convincing the City that 120L bins were large enough for most, if not all, households. We used the City’s own data and data from MetroVancouver’s own solid waste folks.

We even threw together some graphics.

In the end the City decided wisely to use 120L and the standard bin, and to offer 240L bins for an increased cost for those who insisted on clogging up landfills to the maximum possible extent. I was chagrined to find out that they ran out of 120L bins, and I (of all people) was one of the few houses that got a 240L bin, but the City swapped it out for me a month later (a month in which I didn’t use the bin once, just to make a point).
Kristian at the City must have got a laugh out of me, with my loud mouth, being one of the people with the 204L black bin, as he (I suspect) chose to swap out my green bin for a 120L model recently, without even telling me. Not a complaint, as I have hardly used that bin, with my green cone and compost both going gang-busters. In fact, I have no idea when the swap happened, I just noticed one day they were the same size.

However, another member of the NWEP Trash Talkers group was complaining recently about only using her 120L bin once every two months or so. With the organics out of it, it doesn’t stink, and she just doesn’t produce enough waste to fill it, and sees no point taking it out until it is full. Her only concern is that the garbage truck comes by her house 52 times per year, when it only really has to come by 6 or 7 times. She wondered how many other people found they were putting out the bins less than once a week. And from the kernel or thinking came the NWEP Trash Tracking program.

Using the lessons of the successful Glenbrook North and Sapperton Zero Waste Challenges, this idea is to estimate how much trash people actually put out: is there enough interest in fortnight or less frequent pick up if it means money savings? Is there use for 75L or smaller bins with concomitant savings in your trash bill?
To find out, first we need to collect some data, which we can then take to the City and use to plan further waste-reduction strategies. This is where you come in.

The NWEP have put together a simple garbage-tracking form.

It is designed to be posted next to the garbage calendar you receive from the City. To fill it out, you simply make a check mark every time you take one or both of your trash bins to the curb. You can mark if the bin was “full”, about half full, almost empty, or if you didn’t take it out that week. The same for the Green Organic Waste bin. Although the form starts this week, we will only use the data from April through on for stats crunching, the March start gives us a chance to get the word out and the bugs worked out. You can download it from the NWEP website and print it, or you can fill it our digitally, or if you don’t have a printer, contact us and we will get a form in your mailbox ASAP.

At the end of the survey, you can scan, e-mail, or drop your tracking sheet off (or we can come by and pick it up from you). We will collect this data, post it on our website (the names and addresses of all participants will remain anonymous) and hopefully present it to New Westminster Council and Staff in the Fall.
More info and contact info if you need more answers at the NWEP website .
p.s. I did some serious weeding last weekend, so my 120L green bin will be going out 1/2 full. Looks like my black bin is only about 1/3 full right now, so I will not be taking it out this week at all.

6 comments on “Counting your Trips to the Curb

  1. “I did some serious weeding last weekend, so my 120L green bin will be going out 1/2 full.”

    What I don’t understand about you P@J is why you even use the green bin. What a poor example of practical composting.

  2. Because of creeping buttercup, chickweed, lamium, and other invasive species. Putting these in my normal backyard compost (which I use for most clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps, etc.) would spread these weeds around the yard.

    I was hoping I could use the Green Cone for these (which I use for bones, meat, and dairy waste, to keep them out of the compost), but I am not confident the Cone is keeping warm enough to be effective these days. In the meantime, the Green Bin it will be.I will follow up with a Gren Cone report soon.

  3. So, the weeds you pulled, which were carbon sinks for the atmospheres CO2, where placed into a recepticale composed of synthetic plastic, and removed via a vehicle powered by fossil fuels, to be delivered to location that produces……. ?

    How come they can do it, but you can’t ?

    Somethings wrong with this picture P@J. Please fix it.

  4. Much better, Anon. Now you are coming up with positive input! However I’m not sure how your solution addresses my invasive-plant weeding issue, as I am afraid that is a bit of overkill for my yard, but you digress.

    Just so I understand how far down the socialist path you propose we go: are you suggesting we mandate by law that all large buildings and businesses install and maintain these units? Or are you suggesting the local taxpayer subsidise the purchase of these units for all the businesses and large building in town?

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