You rake, city rakes it in

Civic depart­ment hopes to turn

Winnipeg Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - ALDO SANTIN aldo.santin@freep­ress.mb.ca

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.

PHIL HOSSACK / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

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