There are many ways to introduce a new organic collection program. Based on experience, we suggest hosting a one-time kick-off event. Here are a few examples:
A party for the property residents that combines food (for example a BBQ) and entertainment (music or games) with an introduction to the new organic collection program. Activities can include demonstrations on how to set up your in-unit organics, where and how to take organics to the collection bins and examples of items acceptable in the program. As residents arrive they can be directed to sign in and receive their organics brochure (and bin if you are providing them)
Pros: Suitable for all sizes of properties. Fun. Highly visible. Promotes conversations and community building. Residents will associate the new organic collection program with a positive experience.
Cons: Requires a suitable space. Cost for food and/or entertainment. Time consuming to plan. Need sufficient staff/volunteers.
Community Meeting/Open House
A resident gathering in a common area, either as a stand-alone event or plan it to coincide with an already scheduled AGM or other meeting. An open house format allows residents to drop in and leave after they have asked questions and picked up brochures. Residents can be directed to sign in (allowing you to track who attended and follow up with those who couldn’t attend). Set up a demonstration showing in-unit storage options and how organic containers need to be used. Provide some refreshments.
Pros: Not very time consuming. Low cost. Few staff/volunteers required. Drop-in format encourages residents to pop in.
Cons: Less fun than a party.
On a specific date, go door to door to distribute in-unit bins (if you are providing them) and information materials about the program. This gives you the opportunity to explain the program to each resident, including what is acceptable and where the organic collection bins are located.
Pros: Good choice for smaller properties. No extra cost. Easy to keep track of who you spoke with.
Cons: Time consuming for larger properties.
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In March 2018, Town of Cochrane Council approved an amendment to the Waste Management Bylaw requiring all multi-unit properties to provide on-site source-separated organics for their residents. The intention of the amendment is to ensure that Cochrane residents living in apartment complexes, condos and unserviced townhome complexes have access to convenient organics services just like single family homes in Cochrane.
All multi-unit properties, households and businesses in Cochrane pay an Eco Centre fee of $5 per month for the operation of the Town of Cochrane Eco Centre and Special Waste programming. The Cochrane Eco Centre accepts everything from excess recycling, household batteries (rechargeable, alkaline and automotive), propane tanks (all sizes), fluorescent light tubes, CFL's, household hazardous waste (chemicals), paint, aerosols, electronics, scrap metal, glass, styrofoam, leaves & grass, tree trimmings, Christmas Trees, printer cartridges, eye glasses, used motor oil, oil filters, oil containers, grease and used cooking oils, food waste, bicycles, clothing and books. All of these programs are funded by the monthly fee.
Your FIRST WASTE, RECYCLING AND ORGANICS PLAN IS DUE ON OR BEFORE JUNE 30, 2018. Ways to submit your plan: • online: use the online form on www.cochrane.ca/multi-unit • on paper: download the form from www.cochrane.ca/multi-unit and mail, fax or email (email@example.com) Town of Cochrane staff will contact you within a week of receiving your form. If you are not contacted within this timeframe, please contact the Waste & Recycling Hotline 403-851-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Your recycling program must be implemented on or before September 30, 2018.
Plans must be submitted for new buildings or when there are significant program changes for existing buildings within 30 days of occupancy or change of ownership.
The following materials are acceptable in most organic collection programs:
Fruit and vegetable scraps
Food leftovers, plate scrapings
Meat, fish, giblets and bones
Dairy products, butter mayonnaise, dressings
Bread, cereal, grains,
Baked goods, candies
Coffee Filters and grounds
Solidified fats and grease
Baking ingredients, herbs, spices
Houseplants, cut and dried flowers
Nuts, pits, seeds and shells
Soiled paper towels and tissues
Pizza boxes, no plastic inserts
Yard and garden waste (consider volume increases when grass clippings, leaves, tree trimmings and yard and garden waste is accepted)
Alternative materials accepted (confirm with collection company if these materials will be accepted)
Flour and sugar bags
Dryer sheets and lint
Used paper cups and plates
Compostable serving wear and bags
Yes, the program applies to smaller properties, however properties with 25 or fewer units have some additional options available to them. 8 or fewer units Owners or managers of multi-unit properties with eight or fewer units may apply to receive and pay for the Town’s automated waste, recycling and organics cart service. Contact Waste & Recycling Services directly at 403-851-2277 or email@example.com to determine eligibility. 25 or fewer units Owners or managers of multi-unit properties with 25 or fewer units may apply for exemption from hiring a private recycling collector through their Waste, Recycling and Organics Plan. If approved for exemption, you are still required to: •Set up and maintain onsite storage of all recyclables •Self-haul recycling: assign hauling of recyclable materials to yourself, an employee or volunteer to a verifiable recycling facility such as the Cochrane Eco Centre. •Inform your residents of the recycling/organics program details in writing (by letter, brochure, poster etc.) within 30 days of move-in. Contact Waste & Recycling Services directly at 403-851-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org to determine eligibility.
Perhaps but not necessarily. You need to ensure that you monitor your program to ensure that you have the appropriate frequency of collection, type and number of containers. Yes, you are adding organic collection (which is usually cheaper than waste collection), but you should be able to reduce the number containers and frequency of your waste collection (which is currently comprised of 50% organics waste) which should save you money.
You may be able to replace waste containers with organic containers requiring the same amount of space as before; for example, if you have two 6-yard dumpsters for waste, replace one with a 6-yard organic dumpster.
Consider expanding your waste, recycling and organic collection area into an unused space, like a rarely used parking spot. Your collection company and the Town of Cochrane Waste & Recycling Services can help you identify areas for organic container placement.
The Town of Cochrane will provide some standardized communication material to help educate your residents, including posters, brochures, graphic files and sign templates. Request communications materials through the Waste & Recycling Hotline 403-851-2277 or email@example.com. Graphic files and electronic sign templates can be downloaded from www.cochrane.ca/multi-unit
However, you chose to roll out your program, ensure you keep track of who attended events and who you spoke to. To reach those that were unable to attend events or were not home when you went door to door, consider leaving the brochures and program information at their door with your contact information so that they can contact you with questions. Use your newsletter or email distribution list to reinforce the messaging electronically. You could also set up a closed Facebook group for your property residents where information can be provided and residents can join in the conversation.
Most residents of multi-unit properties support organic diversion and welcome a program being established if it is convenient and easy to use. Some residents may be concerned that the in-unit container will smell and will attract pests. You can address this concern by reminding them that it is the same material that was in their garbage before, just being put into a different container. You can also provide them with the tips about using certified compostable bags, paper bags, layering their organics, adding paper, keeping the lid closed and cleaning the in-unit container frequently. If they are concerned about the space required for the in-unit container, remind them that most of waste produced in the house is organic material and they may want to consider using a smaller waste container. There are also many options for organic and waste containers that will minimize the space required. We also suggest you emphasize the program’s benefits when chatting with residents: diverting organics is essential for environmental sustainability and significantly reduces the amount of waste going to landfill.
If structural alterations will be made to the property to accommodate waste, recycling and organic containers, waste collection areas or waste enclosures, visit with the Town of Cochrane’s Planning and Development Services Department to learn about any permits that may be required:
Town of Cochrane Planning & Engineering Services
403-851-2570 or firstname.lastname@example.org