I am visiting the city of Surrey, British Columbia, which has a population of about 500,000; that’s about a quarter million less than Winnipeg’s population.
Surrey, like Winnipeg, has its share of civic issues, its share of environmental conflict, and its share of fighting a negative image.
One thing we don’t share is how waste is picked up. I know not the most exciting topic but from an environmentally responsible perspective it is close to nirvana in Surrey.
There are three carts for household waste disposal. A garbage cart (black) that is picked up every other week. A recycling cart (blue) that is picked up on the alternate week from the garbage. And the organics waste cart (green) which is picked up every week.
This means that the city of Surrey is composting. What a concept! Individuals can continue to compost in their own yards, however, there are compost depots where individuals can pick up compost for their gardens and lawns as well.
Collection in high density buildings is not done by the City and so each building is taken care of by the private sector.
According to Stats Canada, curbside collection of compost waste by Canadian municipalities has grown significantly over the past decade, from around 30 percent of cities to about 45 percent. Figures show a sharp increase in household composting in places where curbside collection by the city is implemented.
So, while many jurisdictions in Canada are creating waste collection programs that include composting, Winnipeg has yet to adopt such a plan.
Winnipeg does have its challenges with mosquito control and snow removal; however, organic waste diversion seems a very efficient, cost effective and sustainable solution for our community and our environment.