Manitoba

5 Winnipeg neighbourhoods chosen for curbside food waste pilot this fall

About 4,000 Winnipeg homes will get curbside bins and kitchen pails to toss out their apple cores, bones and other food waste as part of a pilot project that could help cut down methane emissions at the local dump.

About 4,000 homes in Linden Woods, St. George, Inkster Gardens, Mission Gardens, Daniel McIntyre to take part

Organic food waste is one of the worst methane emitters at landfills. (CBC)

About 4,000 Winnipeg homes will get new curbside bins and kitchen pails to toss out their fruit scraps, bones and other food waste as part of a pilot project that could help cut down methane emissions at the local dump.

Homes in five neighbourhoods will be asked to participate in the organic waste diversion program this fall.

Those neighbourhoods include Linden Woods in the city's southwest, St. George in the St Vital area, Inkster Gardens in the northwest, Mission Gardens in the Transcona neighbourhood, and Daniel McIntyre in the West End, the city said Thursday in a news release.

The neighbourhoods were selected because they "reflect a diversity of Winnipeggers and types of homes" and different ways waste is collected, the city said in a news release on Thursday.

Not all households in those neighbourhoods will be part of the pilot; select homeowners will be contacted in August and asked to participate come October. Those that are chosen will get trash pails and curbside bins solely for food waste.

Instead of being lumped in with the rest of the trash at the dump, the food waste will be trucked to the Brady Road Resource Management Facility, where it will be composted.

Select neighbourhood homes will get new indoor trash pails and outdoor curbside bins for food waste. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

The city approved the pilot in December. The project is slated to last two years at a cost of $1.8 million. That money will come from the city's waste diversion reserve, which sat at $5.2 million as of Dec. 31.

Most major Canadian cities have curbside organic food waste pickup programs that help divert meat, produce and other organic waste from landfills. 

When those things land at dumps, they rot and emit methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of how it traps heats within Earth's atmosphere.

Lessons learned from Winnipeg's pilot could help the city get closer to its target of diverting half of all trash from the landfill.

A long line of vehicles lines up at the entrance to the Brady landfill in April. (John Einarson/CBC)

In 2011, the city set a target of diverting 35 per cent of its waste by 2016 and 50 per cent by 2020. It failed to hit either target.

The plan was implemented in 2012 but council subsequently put off meeting the targets until after the completion of the food waste pilot, among other reasons.

"A significant increase to the waste diversion rate is not expected without the introduction of … new, citywide, residential food waste collection and composting programs," says a report set to be presented at the July 8 meeting of the city's water and waste committee.

The city's waste-diversion rate dropped slightly to 32 per cent in 2019, the report says. It was 33 per cent the year prior.

However, there have been improvements over the years. The city says per capita garbage generation decreased 21 per cent since 2011.

The five-year average shows an overall downward trend in the amount of trash going to the landfill, the city said.

In 2009, Winnipeg had one of the lowest waste diversion rates in Canada at 15 per cent, according to the city. In the past five years, almost a third of all waste has been diverted from the landfill.

The local nonprofit Green Action Centre estimates roughly half of all waste in Winnipeg is food. Those who want to learn how to compost at home can find more details on the Green Action Centre's website.

A report on the outcome of the pilot, including recommendations on a city-wide program, is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.

About the Author

Bryce Hoye

Reporter

Bryce Hoye is an award-winning journalist and science writer with a background in wildlife biology and interests in courts, social justice, health and more. He is the Prairie rep for OutCBC. Story idea? Email bryce.hoye@cbc.ca.

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