There shouldn't be a big stink about the Langley City garbage and recycling changes coming Jan. 2.
Residents in single family homes can no longer put kitchen and food waste in their regular garbage.
It's the latest move to being a greener community. The green waste will be taken to a recycler in Aldergrove for composting.
The switch shouldn't be too hard for residents.
"It's just sorting it slightly differently," City engineering director Gary Vlieg told the Langley Advance. "Take all kitchen organics and just put them in your green can."
In the past, only plant and yard waste could be included but now people can put food waste and other products in their green cans for anaerobic composting.
Allowed will be meat, bones, fats and oils, paper towels and paper products dirtied with food (napkins, pizza boxes, tea bags, etc.). Not allowed are any human and pet biological debris (including mucus, blood, feces and urine), or any items soiled with these (diaper, toilet paper, etc).
He explained that keeping kitchen waste out of the landfill reduces harmful greenhouse gases, created when they decompose.
The materials will be composted and reused in gardening and landscaping.
But Vlieg said a key factor in making this change is finances. The disposal fees for green waste are about half those of regular garbage.
"We'll pass those cost savings on as soon as we achieve them," Vlieg said.
The typical garbage is 30-40 per cent food waste.
The City budgeted for residents diverting about 15 per cent of green waste but hopes rates are higher.
Vlieg said Langley City would like to achieve results similar to Surrey, which made the switch and saw a 30 per cent reduction from the start.
Staff have been trained to field calls from the public about the changes.
"I've already had some complaints," Mayor Peter Fassbender commented at the Dec. 17 council meeting.
People can put their green waste in with their yard waste in either kraft bags or in garbage cans labelled green cans. Biodegradable plastic is not allowed in the green can.
In preparing for the changes, the City researched what other municipalities did and experienced. In general, cities saw about two to five per cent contamination with non-permitted items (for example plastic). Vlieg said if the rate of contamination gets higher, the City will take action.
The City has created larger labels which will be easier for the waste contractor to see on pickup days.
Regular garbage will now be picked up every second week while blue box recycling and green waste will be picked up weekly. There are no limits on the amount of green waste and blue box recycling people can set out for pick up but residents will be limited to two garbage cans each two weeks.
The Langley City website has the new collection schedule and packages of information were assembled by the Stepping Stone Society which also delivered them to single family homes.
Flashing signs have been positioned around the City to remind residents that garbage collection changes in the new year.
Multi-family units, such as apartments and condos, use private garbage contractors. Vlieg said people in those homes can talk to their strata council or their garbage contractors about possible green initiatives.
Metro Vancouver, the regional district that includes the Langleys, has a Zero Waste Challenge with the goal of diverting as much as possible to composting or recycling.
"We're not just doing this on a whim," Vlieg said.
People don't have a choice in some of the changes, as laws are coming in the next few years mandating such things as diversion of green waste by 2013 and recycling of plastic wrapping and styrofoam packaging within just a couple of years.