The regional district has started a curbside collection service pilot project for bulky waste items such as furniture and appliances.
The project will involve 1,000 households over the next two months in three specific neighbourhoods—Upper Mission in Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country—chosen because of their distance away from landfill transfer stations.
Up to three items can be placed out per week during the project.
Participants will receive the additional pickup service for free, with the idea ultimately that it be offered as a user-pay option for residents.
Peter Rotheisler, environment services manager for Regional District of Central Okanagan, said the intent behind the bulk item pickup is to further redirect items such as furniture, appliances, scrap metal, glass, clean wood, painted wood, drywall, plastic bags and styrofoam away from the landfill.
“The thought is to look at ways to recycle or reuse these items where possible in a convenient way for local residents and to potentially alleviate the need for further transfer stations,” said Rotheisler.
The additional service is part of the solid waste management plan adopted by the regional district board last week, which included a request for staff to review the location of the existing transfer station in West Kelowna and consider the possibility of moving it to a more suitable industrial site.
It’s an update of the existing plan adopted in 2008, which the regional district credits for reducing per capita garbage disposal by almost 20 per cent while increasing waste diversion by more than 100 per cent.
The goal moving forward would target a 12 per cent further reduction of garbage being thrown out and a 16 per cent increase in waste being diverted from landfills.
Rotheisler says the bulky item curbside pickup pilot project will provide some data insight into the feasibility of the program being offered across the regional district as a user-pay model to meet the targets.
He says the RDCO model would be unique because of the user-pay aspect, noting that other communities tend to use the general taxation model to cover costs.
“In that situation, you have people paying for a service they may never use, so we are trying a different approach and we’ll see how it initially goes over, if it is feasible financially or if lack of interest would cause the system to collapse,” he said.
Call OK Environmental Waste at 250-868-3211 for more information or register for the pickup pilot project at www.okews.com. The last day to register for collection is Nov. 24.
Other changes under consideration include supporting recycle and reuse programs at community events, and review existing curbside bin sizes and the yard waste collection system now in place.
Rotheisler had discussed the proposed changes with various municipal councils within the regional district. West Kelowna council came out strongly against a proposal to move garbage pick-up from once a week to every second week.
The council felt the move posed various negative consequences from environment and health perspectives, and was unfair to larger families.
That change remains currently under review.
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