As reported in the Edmonton Journal, residents in 8,00 homes in Edmonton, Alberta will be participating in a source separated organics (SSO) trial program.

Beginning in late February or early March, the selected households will place their organic waste in a separate bin for pickup.

All the participating homes will receive a green cart. Half will get a 120-litre black cart, and half will get a 240-litre black cart, said Mike Labrecque, city branch manager for waste services.

Recyclables will be picked up weekly, and there will two additional yard waste pickups in the spring and two more in the fall, Lebrecque said.

Just how waste separation might work in apartments and condos is still under discussion. Lebrecque said a timeline isn’t finalized yet, but he said it’s expected that the first phase of single-unit homes will be permanently switched to the compost-waste-recycling pick up in fall 2020, and the second phase is planned for spring 2021. There isn’t a timeline for multi-residential buildings yet.

Eventually, when the whole city is separating things like apple cores and eggshells from other waste, Lebrecque said the city estimates it will need to have the capacity to process 180,000 tonnes of organics annually.

A plan for the facility to process all the organics was also presented to committee recently. Staff studied the possibility of repairing the problems with the building that currently houses the city’s composting system, but ultimately recommended demolishing it and building a new anaerobic digestion facility in its place.

Edmonton is the only municipality in the region that isn’t already doing source-separated organics.

“We took a different approach,” said Lebrecque, referring to the previous program in which Edmontonians dumped their organics and other waste together and sent it to the curb to be separated at a city facility. There was also no volume limit on the amount of waste a household could set out to be collected.

A year ago, a city auditor’s report revealed the city was meeting just a fraction of its goal to divert 90 per cent of its waste from going into a landfill. The auditor looked back at years of data and found annual diversion rates between 35.7 per cent and 49.5 per cent.