Gibsons, BC – Case Study

On average, a household will generate about 5lbs of organic waste every week. Unfortunately, organic waste collection hasn’t been developed and implemented like recycling, and as a result, the majority of that organic waste ends up in landfill. That’s a double whammy for the environment because organic waste is a precious resource for soil regeneration that is being wasted, and that same organic waste creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas 20-times more harmful than CO2, when buried in a landfill. The opportunity to draw out CO2 from the atmosphere to mitigate the effects of climate change and regenerate the soil, instead ends up harming it.

This is recognized as a global challenge, and cities and towns across North America and around the world are striving to change social behaviors with the development and implementation organics collections programs. In these programs, the two primary issues are waste generator participation and contamination. These are all too often not addressed in collection systems that have evolved from the collection of garbage. 

Seeing this as an opportunity for positive change, EcoSafe developed the Easy as 1-2-3 collection standard and is committed to collaborate and work with local partners to implement organics collection programs. These programs focus on changing social behavior and habits of waste-generators in a manner that maximizes diversion with near-zero contamination. The following is an example that demonstrates the effectiveness of the program as it was developed and implemented in the very successful Town of Gibsons Residential program. 

Putting the Team Together

In the Fall of 2018 Manny Machado, COO & CRO for the Town of Gibsons met with Aaron Joe, CEO of Salish Soils, a division of Salish Environmental, a majority owned First Nations business, to discuss the possibility of creating a partnership for the development and roll out of a residential curbside and multi-family food scraps program for Gibsons on BC‘s sunshine coast. As a result of that meeting, the town of Gibsons joined in a partnership with Salish Soils (the composter), Grayco Disposal (the hauler), and EcoSafe Zero Waste (compostable products supplier and program developer) to develop, launch and manage for the town, a turn key organic collection program. Recollect, a company specializing in residential communications, was also engaged to develop the website and an app to support the ongoing educational requirements for residents. The program was launched in April 2019.    

 

The program was to be built on the principles laid out in the EcoSafe “Easy as 1-2-3” Residential Collection program: 

  1. Zero tolerance for visible contamination  
  2. Start a program where you want it to finish 
  3. Contamination and feedback are addressed at the point of collection 
  4. What gets measured gets done 

In addition to supervising the development of the educational materials, the town of Gibsons was responsible for passing the supporting bylaws and the pre and post-launch publicity and promotion. The Contract between Grayco and the town of Gibsons included the development of an implementation plan, all supporting educational materials customized to Gibson specifications, as well as an EcoSafe Kitchen Caddy bin, an EcoSafe Curbside bin, and EcoSafe compostable bin liners for each residence. The contract was developed in accordance with the standards set by Salish Soils for zero visible contamination. All complaints and inquiries for the program would be handled through the office of Salish Soils. 

 

The launch was planned for the first week of April 2019.  

Program Launch & Results

 

The town of Gibsons hired a third-party consultant to do all waste audits for the first six weeks of the program. The results from those audits speak for themselves with participation well above 80% and contamination well under 1%.  

The subsequent evaluation in 2020 for the six months from April to September demonstrates that the program has continued to improve with very high levels of satisfaction from the residents and continued improvement in participation and reduction of contamination.  

 

Reviews of the Gibson Case Study by industry experts confirm that the EcoSafe Curbside Program manages performance levels that are rare in the industry and at costs that are well below typical development costs for programs in most cities. EcoSafe, in collaboration with the CMA and other collaborating partners, are planning to utilize this program as a model for quick, inexpensive and easy to plan and implement organic collection programs for small communities and cities throughout North America 

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