Home compost collection will cost Winnipeggers more green, mayor says
A city-run compost program could range from $55 to $100, which would be added to water bills
Diverting food scraps and grass clippings from the landfill means a big bump in fees but Mayor Brian Bowman is promising residents they will get a say in whether a proposed residential composting program goes ahead.
The program would see a minimum increase of $55 to pick up vegetable scraps, and up to $100 for collection that would also include pet waste and all food scraps. The annual cost would be added to homeowners water bills.
St. Boniface city councillor Matt Allard says while residents support composting, they don't support the current organic waste pick up proposal.
"They have spoken loud and clear in St. Boniface that they don't like this option. It's a flat fee and if you have already been composting for the past 20 years you have to pay and people are feeling this doesn't make sense," said Allard.
Bowman told reporters Wednesday his family has composted for "as long as he could remember," but admitted the proposed program is expensive and there are questions to be answered.
"In principle, I am supportive of organics composting. The question ultimately is how much are we prepared to pay for it, because it is expensive," Bowman said.
He added that no final decisions have been made and encouraged residents to voice their opinions.
"We need to hear from Winnipeggers, whether and how they'd like to proceed with organics composting."
The city's corporate communications department is planning public consultations.
But Allard says those consultations won't be a true reflection of what people want. He says the public is only being given limited choices of what can be composted.
"People who would normally be champions of this kind of project are overwhelmingly negative about this. They may have other options or we should be looking at other municipalities and see what kind of fee structure and system they have," Allard added.
While Bowman admitted there are costs associated with organic waste pickup, he noted there are potential benefits to combating climate change through programs like that.
"If you look at the greenhouse gases emitted from Brady [Winnipeg's landfill facility], these are good discussions to have," Bowman said.
Allard agrees Winnipeg has to do its part in reducing greenhouse gases. He says the city has to find a system that has public buy-in and options that reward green behavior and penalizes people who throw too much garbage out.
Bowman wasn't sure what the cost would be for the facilities needed to start the program but promised those numbers would become part of the discussion.