As part of its waste-reduction strategy, the City of Port Coquitlam moved to an alternate-week garbage collection schedule in January 2010. The change can divert thousands of tonnes of household waste from the landfill each year and save thousands in disposal and operations fees ($165,000 in 2010 alone).
Port Coquitlam was the first city in Metro Vancouver to take this critical step towards achieving the regional district’s goal of diverting 70% of all household waste from the landfill. In fact, a recent Metro Vancouver audit shows that a 75% or greater diversion rate is possible, since 48% of our household waste is compostable and 26% is recyclable. The current diversion rate is 62%.
The change to alternate-week garbage collection in 2010 was augmented with an increase in green cart to help make the transition easier for residents. Green carts are collected weekly between mid-May and mid-November – the prime months for gardening, as well as the warmest months.
Reasons for the schedule change
The key driver for the change to alternate-week garbage collection was to reduce the amount of garbage being sent to the landfill:
- The landfill at Cache Creek is reaching capacity.
- Garbage disposal costs are expected to almost double within five years. This means that if the status quo was maintained, Port Coquitlam taxpayers could have to pay $225,000 more for waste collection services by 2014. (Waste services are a pass-through cost that is directly funded by taxpayers.)
Considerable research and studies were undertaken before the decision was made to switch to an alternate-week collection schedule.
One of the studies involved a six-week pilot in the summer of 2009 that tested out alternate-week garbage pick-up as well as expanded kitchen waste collection. The 200 participants succeeded in diverting 65% of their household waste into their recycling and green/kitchen waste carts. Of particular note is that while green/kitchen waste diversion increased almost 9% through expanded food waste collection, recycling diversion also increased by more than 7% with no change to that program.
Of the 74 households who returned the follow-up survey, 85% supported the biweekly pickup schedule and 81% supported expanded food waste collection.
Making it Work
Alternate-week garbage collection is also in place in a number of other Canadian cities, including Squamish BC, Olds AB, Charlottetown PEI and Annapolis Royal NS. It is also being considered or implemented by several other Metro Vancouver cities.
In Port Coquitlam, the change to alternate-week garbage collection is possible because of our recycling and green cart collection programs. The City expanded its green cart collection in November 2009, so that all food scraps and food-soiled papers can be disposed of in the green cart, along with yard trimmings. As noted above, compostable materials make up close to half of our household waste.
The City’s standard 240 L garbage carts are already larger than standard carts provided by some other cities, including Port Moody (120 L), Kelowna (120 L), Burnaby (180 L) and New Westminster (180 L).
Residents who need more capacity can switch to a larger cart or add extra carts. Additional annual fees plus a one-time administrative/delivery fee apply. 120 L garbage carts are also available – contact the Operations Division at the number below for information.
Click the links to the left for a variety of information, or download the resources below:
- To download a PDF presentation about Port Coquitlam’s Waste Reduction Strategy, click here.
- To download a PDF of a handy waste-sorting guide, click here.
Location and Mailing Address
1737 Broadway Street
Port Coquitlam BC V3C 2M9
8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)