You rake, city rakes it in
Civic department hopes to turn
CIVIC department hopes it can turn all those bags of leaves, weeds and grass clippings collected from households across Winnipeg into cash.
The water and waste department recently issued a request for proposals for a pilot project to sell 4,000 to 5,000 cubic metres (6,800 to 8,500 tonnes) of the yard waste it collects through its curbside collection program.
Moira Geer, director of the water and waste department, told city councillors on the environment committee Monday she thinks Winnipeg might be able to get about $3 per tonne for the yard waste, with the total potential of about $25,500.
A civic spokeswoman later said
AGeer was incorrect, the city actually expects the compost to sell for $3 per cubic metre. “We’ve reached out and invited 15 different entities that might be interested,” Geer told the committee. “This is an opportunity to market it, dispose of the compost we have.”
The grass clippings, weeds and leaves collected through the curbside brown-bag program are brought to the Brady Road landfill, where it’s treated and converted into compost. Some of the material is used as cover at the landfill, but not all of it — and department staff have been exploring what to do with the leftovers.
A department report to the committee delivered in June said more than 28,000 tonnes of yard waste was collected in 2016 through the curbside program, with another 8,000 tonnes brought to Brady by individuals.
The finished compost was primarily used as top dressing on the finished areas of the landfill and also provided to other civic departments for landscape restoration and flower beds, the report said.
Compost made from the yard-waste material proved to be popular with backyard gardeners when the city held an Earth Day giveaway April 22 at the Pacific Avenue 4R recycling depot. The city reported more than 700 people attended and took away 100 litres of compost at no charge.
Committee chairman Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) said he had been aware the department was considering its options for the growing pile of compost material, adding he supports the pilot project.
Geer said for this pilot initiative, the material will not be offered for sale to the public.
Dan DeCraene, the city’s acting manager of solid waste, said the department is targeting local soil handlers and landscapers as the potential market for the compost. “The value of this product comes in blending it with other soil products to make it a useable topsoil type of material,” he said.
Several potential clients were invited to the Brady facility last week to examine the compost material and assess its worth.
Any revenue from the sale would be retained by the department within its waste-reduction program, Geer said.