Keep it in the bin
Communities look to divert waste from Robin Hood Bay
Several communities in the Trinity-Conception region are hoping the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) will follow through on plans to reintroduce a program offering low-cost composting bins to the public through municipalities.
In a letter dated Dec. 13, business development officer Ashley Burke wrote that MMSB is researching the feasibility of starting a new backyard-composting program that would invite towns to sell composting bins to residents at a cost of $21.99. The cost is greatly reduced compared to retails prices ranging from $50 to $100. Municipalities would have to order at least 50 bins.
Carol Ann Carter, director of communications for MMSB, says of the 285 municipalities contacted, 50 expressed interest in purchasing a total of almost 4,000 compost bins.
“ We’re really happy,” says Carter, adding the program will now seek approval from the board at its next meeting on Jan. 28, with a rollout of bins expected shortly thereafter.
At its Jan. 11 council meeting, the Town of Carbonear unanimously voted to order 100 bins should the program go ahead. Municipalities were asked to respond by Jan. 17. “ The composting part of it is great for the town, because there’s less weight going to Robin Hood Bay,” says Mayor Sam Slade.
Towns pay $51 per tonne of waste sent to the dumpsite operated by the Eastern Waste Management Committee. That fee will increase to $65.50 per tonne in April, with recyclables only costing $20 per tonne if they are separated from other forms of waste. On top of those charges are fees associated with transporting the waste to Robin Hood Bay, which is located near the east end of St. John’s.
According to MMSB, organic waste accounts for 30 per cent of all waste in the province. Therefore, the more people with their own composting bins, the less waste sent to the dumps. This would leave municipalities with more money to spend on other services.
Carbonear town administrator Cynthia Davis says that when a similar program was operated by MMSB, it was well received locally.
“ We had a number of people that actually came back after the program finished looking for the composters, but they were no longer available,” she says, estimating approximately 100 bins were sold at the time. “ We think it will be received well.”
When the bins were previously sold in Carbonear, Davis says residents were only allowed to purchase one, even though some were interested in purchasing a second composter.
In Bay Roberts, members of council spoke glowingly of the idea during a regular meeting on Jan. 11.
“It’s a small start, and if it doesn’t work, we’re not out a lot of money,” says Bay Roberts town councillor Melvin Walsh.
Heart’s Content-Islington mayor Denzil Sheppard says his town is also committed to the program.