Thursday, November 19, 2009

Late is better than never...

We came across this story done by local star reporter Sarah Simpson while perusing the Cowichan Green Community webpage.

Thought it was worth a (com)post to the blog. We've now diverted a heckuva lot more organics and a curbside program is still yet to appear.

Poll shows 'lukewarm' support for organics collection

Sarah Simpson, The Citizen

Published: Wednesday, June 03, 2009

When polling firm Ipsos Reid questioned 400 Cowichan Valley residents in March of this year, one of the questions asked was whether citizens were willing to pay an additional fee for an expanded curbside recycling program in which all food waste would be picked up regularly and commercially composted.

Despite the continually progressive nature of the Cowichan Valley, and further poll results that show the environment and recycling is of increasing importance, "I would call lukewarm support for that idea," said Ipsos Reid spokesman Kyle Baird on Wednesday evening. "Only four in 10 residents said they would be willing to pay an additional fee."

The numbers shocked Cowichan Green Community's Judy Stafford.

She thought the green-minded people of the Cowichan Valley would be more willing.

"That is surprisingly low," she said Thursday afternoon. "I wonder if it just comes down to people in general feeling a bit of a pinch and maybe at a different time they would have said yes?"

Stafford said people would likely be more receptive to the program if they didn't have to pay for it.

"These are public services," she said. "You look at European countries and these things are just part of life in so many other countries. It should be just a service that is standard. It should just be a part of life."

Stafford suggested implementing the service without a cost to the taxpayer in order to gauge interest and overall costs before asking the community to foot the bill.

"This is something we need to do as a community for the environment and we need to make it easy for people to make that change," she said. "People need to do it. This shouldn't be an optional thing anymore."

For the past three months Cowichan Recyclists has been offering a commercial and residential food waste pickup program in the region.

In the short time and with only a handful of customers, the service has diverted nearly 10 tonnes of material from the long journey to the landfill in Washington State.

Co-owners Katie Harris and Aaron Bichard are disappointed but not surprised at the results of the poll.

"The businesses and residents we have had sign up are the ones who do it because they know it's the right thing to do and they want to reduce their waste," said Bichard. "An organics collection program is an added service, so there will be an added cost, but if you're a business you will see a reduction in your garbage volume and that means reduced garbage fees.

"Many people don't understand that food waste is a valuable resource and can be used instead of buried in a landfill."

Bichard said the Craig Street Brew Pub and Just Jake's restaurant have reduced their garbage by nearly 50 per cent since signing up with the Cowichan Recyclists, and have found the change to be affordable.

"Creating a sustainable community requires individuals to step up and make changes, and separating food waste is a big part of taking this step," Bichard said. "The municipalities can take the lead, but it's up to the individuals to actually make the difference."

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