Sort'nGo Organics – Port Alberni

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Did you know that 30-50 per cent of the waste sent to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD)’s landfill isn’t actually garbage at all? It’s organic material – food and yard waste – that can be transformed into a renewable resource like compost.

That’s why the ACRD has launched a new Organics Collection Program in the City of Port Alberni – so you can redirect food and yard waste away from the landfill where it takes up space and creates higher greenhouse gas emissions. The new service that launched September 13, 2021 is part of a wider update to waste collection that will include moving to a 3-stream roadside cart system. Similar to garbage, recycling and organics will now be collected in carts and picked up at the roadside by collection trucks.


Funding to support upgrades to the new waste services, including the ACRD’s Regional Organics Implementation Project, is eligible through the Federal Gas Tax Fund. In 2020, the ACRD received a six million dollar grant that will fund the introduction of organics collection in the City of Port Alberni, the west coast of Tofino, Ucluelet and some surrounding communities, and engage with Alberni Valley electoral areas, Bamfield, First Nations and surrounding communities.


LATEST UPDATES:

Did you know that 30-50 per cent of the waste sent to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD)’s landfill isn’t actually garbage at all? It’s organic material – food and yard waste – that can be transformed into a renewable resource like compost.

That’s why the ACRD has launched a new Organics Collection Program in the City of Port Alberni – so you can redirect food and yard waste away from the landfill where it takes up space and creates higher greenhouse gas emissions. The new service that launched September 13, 2021 is part of a wider update to waste collection that will include moving to a 3-stream roadside cart system. Similar to garbage, recycling and organics will now be collected in carts and picked up at the roadside by collection trucks.


Funding to support upgrades to the new waste services, including the ACRD’s Regional Organics Implementation Project, is eligible through the Federal Gas Tax Fund. In 2020, the ACRD received a six million dollar grant that will fund the introduction of organics collection in the City of Port Alberni, the west coast of Tofino, Ucluelet and some surrounding communities, and engage with Alberni Valley electoral areas, Bamfield, First Nations and surrounding communities.


LATEST UPDATES:

  • Landfill Renaming Contest

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    Port Alberni Elementary Teachers/School Representatives

    Thanks for participating in our landfill renaming contest! You can find the classroom handout and name submission form below to move through the activity and submit a name idea in your own time -- or, request a presentation by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Let us know if you have any questions, and email us at sortngo@acrd.bc.ca or phone: 250-736-7678.

    About the Contest

    Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) operates the Alberni Valley landfill that is used by our community to get rid of garbage. Now that we’re busy upgrading the facility to provide a range of diversion services, including recycling and compost, it’s time to find a name that better reflects the services we provide here. We need your classroom's help!*

    *Port Alberni elementary schools only, please.


    Classroom Activity

  • How to Fill (Not Stuff) Your Green Organics Carts

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    We couldn't be happier to see full organics carts along the roadside; knowing our residents are diverting food and yard waste away from the landfill and towards nutrient-rich compost. But we are seeing a few folks overstuffing the carts with fruit and leaves.

    During the extra-wet times of the year, or any time of year when yard and garden waste is high, it's important to ensure we're not overpacking or stuffing the carts and adding more weight than can be handled by the mechanical arm of the collection truck.

    Why is this a problem?

    If carts are too heavy, the mechanical grab arms on collection trucks can't hold on to the cart when it gets tipped, which means the carts are sometimes slipping into the trucks.

    This can break the carts, cause damage to the truck, and requires the drivers to climb up and remove the carts -- which can make for a long and stressful day for collection drivers who work hard every day to remove your organics, recycling and garbage.

    How you can help:

    In instances where organics carts are too heavy for the truck arm to lift, the contents of the cart may be left behind during the collection service. To ensure your cart is emptied here are a few tips to keep in mind:

    • don't over-stuffing your cart with fruit or leaves
    • use your green cart primarily for food waste
    • top it up with leaves and other yard waste while making sure you're able to easily close and lock your lid
    • Avoid packing or stuffing items down in the cart to make more room

    Don't leave your locking mechanisms dangling!

    Remember to unclip the locking mechanisms from the lid, and then hook the mechanisms together, when placing organics carts roadside. Hooking them together while loose will minimize bangs and scapes, and other potential damage to your carts.

    Questions about our trucks and how they work? Find out more here.

  • How to Sort Plastics

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    We're seeing plastics improperly added to Sort'nGo collection carts in Port Alberni. This can contaminate our waste streams while making it costly and challenging to reach our waste diversion goals. Let's work together to sort smarter, and live simpler.


    Find Answers on the App

    All of the items in the graphics above can be found on the Sort’nGo ACRD app, with instructions on where they belong or where they should be taken. The app is free and available for download on the Apple Store or Google Play.

    For those without mobile devices, use the desktop version and select “sort it” for sorting help: https://api.recollect.net/r/area/ACRD


    Organics

    Plastic bags, even those marked compostable, or biodegradable, don’t belong. This is because items that carry these labels don't always break down the same way, or in the same timeframe, which means these plastics can contaminate the organic waste stream with microplastics and affect our ability to make compost. Green carts should be lined with paper only – newspapers, paper bags, or cardboard.


    Recycling

    Soft plastics including plastic bags, leftover packaging, plastic wrap, and plastic bottles should all be taken to:

    • Bamfield Transfer Station

    • Westcoast Recycling Depot

    • 3rd Ave Recycling Depot

    • AV Landfill Recycling Depot

    • Sonbird Refuse & Recycling

    Some soft plastic items like straws and candy wrappers belong in the garbage. Check the app for details.


    Garbage

    Plastics including cling wrap, cups, and gardening pots/holders/trays should all be taken to:

    • Bamfield Transfer Station

    • Westcoast Recycling Depot

    • 3rd Ave Recycling Depot

    • AV Landfill Recycling Depot

    • Sonbird Refuse & Recycling


  • Tips for Setting Carts Out Roadside

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    Since launching Sort’nGo Organics in Port Alberni last September, we’ve seen more than 500 tons of organic waste diverted from the landfill. As we transform that kitchen/food/garden waste into compost, we want to remind residents of the best ways to leave their green organics carts out on the roadside on collection days.

    How and When you Place Your Carts is Important

    • To reduce the chance of wildlife interactions, bylaws require that carts not be placed roadside until 7 am. Collection trucks leave the yard shortly after 7 am.

    Distance & Position

    • Make sure there is at least one metre (three feet) between the carts and any obstacles (ie: cars, powerpoles) so the mechanical arms of the truck can work properly.

    • Place the wheels of the cart on the side nearest your residence.

    Don't Leave Your Locking Mechanisms Dangling!

    • Make sure to unclip the bear-proof locking mechanism from the cart when placed roadside and then hook the clips together. Doing this ensures they are not left hanging loose when the collection truck picks the carts up – which can cause bangs and scrapes and other damage to the carts.


  • About Organic Waste Gases

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    There are many great advantages to diverting organic waste away from our landfill, like saving space at the facility and increasing its lifespan. But another significant advantage to turning kitchen/food/yard waste into compost is that it significantly decreases the harmful gases caused when these items are left to sit under garbage.

    What happens when organic waste is left at the landfill?

    When organic waste gets buried under garbage, the lack of oxygen produced results in methane gases. In comparison, when composting organics in an oxygen-rich environment, carbon dioxide gas is created.

    How bad is methane gas?

    While both carbon dioxide and methane contribute to levels of greenhouse gases, methane is up to 34X more potent because of its ability to effectively absorb heat, which is why it's considered a much larger contributor to climate change.

    Let's keep working together!

    Now that Port Alberni residents are actively diverting organic waste away from the landfill, we're doing our part for the planet and for our local community by transforming that waste (not garbage!) into nutrient-rich compost that can be re-cycled back into our green spaces.

  • Sort'nGo in the Snow

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    As we see snow piling up with more in the forecast this winter, residents will probably need to alter the regular placement of their carts so that the collection vehicles can still reach them and pathways are clear.

    Here are a few tips for snow season:

    • Find or clear off a site as close to the street as possible where you can set your carts out for collection — placing your carts at the end of your driveway, on either side, can make it easier for you and the collection trucks
    • Avoid placing carts on the travelled portion of the roadway where they will impede snow ploughs, and ensure they are not blocking sidewalks or bike lanes
    • Do not place carts on top of or behind snowbanks
    • A friendly reminder that carts should be at least 3 feet from parked vehicles or other obstacles
    • By clearing your cart of snow and ice, you can ensure the lid opens properly when carts get tipped
    • For the safety of residents: because collection carts are wheeled, please use extra caution when navigating in snowy and icy conditions
  • Sort'nGo Your Holidays!

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    If you’re wondering how to go green (or greener) this holiday season, we’ve got some tips!

    Make it Sustainable

    • This is a great time to get rid of your gently used items and donate to a family in need. Local charities put together shoebox programs, etc. and are happy to accept.
    • Use hand-sewn or locally made gift bags for your gifts. Most wrapping paper is not recyclable (paper only wrap is accepted curbside but not wrap with glitter or plastic). Or make your own cool gift bags – and reuse them again next year.
    • Support your local economy and check out local stores for hand made, one-of-a-kind items. Consider low impact, no packaging presents.
    • Still stuck on the perfect gift for that special someone? Think of experiences rather than material gifts!
    • If you are giving material gifts, consider purchasing rechargeable batteries for electronics – or even adding a battery charger with your gift (almost 40% of all battery sales happen during the holidays!)
    Green Gift Ideas
    • Give an experience (a night out, tickets to a show)
    • Give knowledge (tickets to a lecture, a workshop, an online magazine subscription)
    • Give rest (babysit for a busy parent, a housecleaner, a weekend away)
    • Give a hand (charitable donation, holiday basket for a family in need)
    • Go natural (seeds, bulbs, or plants for the garden or home)

    What to Do With (Inevitable) Leftovers

    • Wrapping paper that is paper only can go in your blue recycling cart (glossy, glitter or plastic wrappings should go in the garbage)
    • Greeting cards can go in your recycling cart
    • Ribbon and other plastic accessories should go in the garbage
    • Don't forget, leftover food scraps from holiday dinner plates can also go right into your organics carts – meat, bones, dairy, and greases

    Christmas Tree Tips

    • If you’re still looking to purchase a tree, consider reusable tree, or a potted tree that the family can plant after the holidays.
    • Save energy by turning off tree lights when you’re out or in bed (remember that non-working Christmas lights are recyclable. Bring the entire strand to 3rd Ave. depot!)
    • Once the holidays are a wrap, natural trees can be taken to the KidSport Port Alberni annual Christmas tree recycling event! This will be a one-day blitz on January 2, 20222 from 10am - 4pm at the Echo Centre in Port Alberni (back parking lot). More details at: https://www.facebook.com/kidsportportalberni/
    • You can also dispose of your tree in your green organics cart provided trees are chopped down to two-feet long branches with a 2 inch diamtre, maximum (this ensures they'll make it through the trucks hopper system without getting stuck). Trees can not stick out of the carts; lids must be able to close easily.

    Follow us on Facebook for more Sort'nGo holiday ideas!


  • Which Cart for Coffee Pods?

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    When it comes to figuring out which cart coffee pods belong (think Keurig cups), it might seem like they could go in any of the green, blue or black carts.

    So which cart is the correct cart for coffee pods?

    We wish the answer was simple, but as it happens coffee pods are one of those tricky items — some are labelled compostable, and some are labelled recyclable, while some are neither.


    • Compost - unfortunately, compostable coffee pods are not accepted in the ACRD Sort’nGo program (green cart) as the compostable plastic doesn’t fully break down. These items have been identified as problem material in other municipal systems. Having said that, coffee grinds only are welcome in the green carts!

    • Recyclable - in order for a coffee pod to be recyclable, they need to be clean and the contents removed and rinsed COMPLETELY. More often than not, this clean-up doesn’t happen and the pods are dropped into the blue recycling carts. This results in contamination of our recycling stream. In addition, when pods reach the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and are placed on the sorting line conveyor belt, they can fall through the sorting mechanism and end up with ‘fine’ material (like bottle caps) which get disposed of as garbage.

    • Garbage - coffee pods continue to be a contentious item in the recycling world because they have such a high generation rate and low recovery process, so we do recommend that these get placed in the garbage.

    A Helpful Hint for Sort’nGo Gamers: when playing the sorting game on the Sort’nGo ACRD app please note that coffee pods are accepted in either garbage OR recycling for a correct answer.

    Don't forget to complete the game before Dec 15 and enter the draw to win a year’s worth of free waste service on us! Get contest details at: bit.ly/acrd-press-release-nov-17.

  • Port Alberni Residents Asked to Help Decrease Contamination in Sort’nGo Organics Carts

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    PRESS RELEASE

    For Immediate Release November 17, 2021



    PORT ALBERNI – Residents have been working hard to divert organics from the landfill with the new Sort’nGo Organics curbside collection service. Households are now invited to learn how more about decreasing contamination for a clean stream – with a chance to win free waste service for 2022.

    Based on what’s being found in organics collection, and the common errors when playing the sorting game on the Sort’nGo ACRD app, here are a few of the top items residents are unsure how to sort:

    • soiled newspaper (belongs in organics)
    • diapers (belongs in garbage)
    • rubber bands from produce items (belongs in garbage)
    • plastic garden tags and garden accessories (can be dropped off at recycling depot)
    • dog feces, cat litter (belongs in garbage)
    • coffee pods (belongs in garbage)

    “When we take care to keep non-organic materials out of organics carts, we’re ensuring a better end result,” said Sharie Minions, City of Port Alberni Mayor. “Contamination can lead to increased costs as well as less overall compost that can be returned to our parks and green spaces.”

    Right now, there’s a big incentive to sort with skill! Residents can win a free year of solid waste collection, valued at $180 (based on standard 120L carts) by playing the sorting game on the app: acrd.recycle.game.

    To be entered in the draw, residents must complete all five levels of the game, and when a certificate of completion is issued, it can be emailed as a screenshot to sortngo@acrd.bc.ca or saved as a PDF and a hardcopy mailed to the ACRD office at: 3008 5th Ave, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 2E3.

    With over 2,000 gameplays to date, and more than 75 certificates created, participants are having fun while honing their sorting skills. Meanwhile, star curbside sorters on collection routes are also being automatically entered into the draw to win. The contest closes end of day Dec 15, 2021.

    “The best way to learn to sort is to play the sorting game on our app,” said Jodie Frank, Sort’nGo Organics Project Lead. “When we sort smarter, our whole community benefits!”

    Learn more about Sort’nGo Organics service at letsconnectacrd.ca/organics.

    -30-

    Questions?

    Jodie Frank, ACRD Organics Coordinator

    250-736-7678 (SORT)

    jfrank@acrd.bc.ca


  • Split-Compartment Trucks: How Do They Work?

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    Did you know Port Alberni's collection trucks can actually pick up both recycling and organics or organics and garbage (depending on your collection week) without contaminating the separate streams?

    These automated City trucks have split compartments (if the trucks look new, it’s because they received a facelift with Sort’nGo decals!) The truck driver will flip a switch to activate either one compartment or the other depending on which cart is being emptied.

    Once the truck reaches the landfill, materials are emptied into their appropriate transfer station bins — recycling or compost is then hauled to the proper processing facility, while garbage is disposed of at the active tipping face.

    Because the compartments are separate in the truck, the three streams get collected, dropped off, and sorted independently. This means we can't mix garbage, recycling and organics in the carts — which will lead to contamination. Help us keep our streams clean and sort smarter with the Sort'nGo ACRD app: https://api.recollect.net/r/area/ACRD


    Not sure what belongs? Play the sorting game on the Sort'nGo ACRD app (or desktop version here: acrd.recycle.game) and if you receive a certificate of completion between now and December 15, email a screenshot of your certificate to sortngo@acrd.bc.ca or save it as a PDF and mail it to the ACRD office at 3008 5th Ave, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 2E3. All certificates we receive between now and December 15 will go into a draw to win a free year of waste service! Learn more at: 3008 5th Ave, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 2E3. Learn more at: Bit.ly/SortnGoContest

    The next time you're driving behind one of our collection trucks, see if you can spot both compartments!



Page last updated: 12 May 2022, 10:45 AM