By on September 26, 2012

Hundreds of large plastic bins will start showing up on the sidewalks outside Osoyoos and area homes starting next week as the town’s garbage contractor begins a two-month pilot project designed to reduce the amount of garbage and recycled materials that end up in the local landfill.
Approximately 1,200 plastic bins to collect garbage and 800 blue-coloured bins to collect recyclable material will be introduced into the community as part of BFI Canada’s Cart program.
The bins will be introduced over the next month, with a couple of hundred being used in the Peanut Pond area and up near the Osoyoos Golf and Country Club starting next week.
BFI Canada has had the contract to pick up roadside garbage and plastic bags of recycled material in the Town of Osoyoos for several years.
Roy Aitken, BFI’s facility manager in Penticton, and John Snelling, sales manager for BFI in the Southern Interior of B.C., made a presentation to members of Town of Osoyoos council back in mid-June asking for permission to try the plastic bins to collect garbage over a two-month trial period, which officially begins next week.
The company is excited about the two-month trial project, which will offer the bins free of charge in October and November, said Aitken.
“A fully automated system is the system that most homeowners appear to prefer,” said Aitken. “That’s what we’re leaning towards in all the communities where we offer garbage pickup and recycling programs.”
One of the biggest attractions of plastic bins is they look good – much better than thousands of garbage bags on sidewalks, said Aitken.
“They look good and are well-built and increase the neighbourhood’s appearance,” he said.
Once the trial period is over, it will be up to town council and BFI to finalize a deal with the Town of Osoyoos to continue the program with property owners who like it, said Aitken.
Attached to the carts will be an information package containing more details on the pilot project and a survey, said Aitken.
If a property owner wishes to keep the carts after the trial period ends, they can send in a subscription form bundled in the information package.
“We’re excited to see the response to the cart program in Osoyoos over the next two months. Our response in other communities is more than 70 per cent of those who try the plastic bins want to remain with the program and we’re hoping for the same kind of reaction with our Osoyoos pilot project.”
Any homeowner who doesn’t want the bins can call BFI and they will be taken away immediately, said Snelling.
The cost of each bin will be $2 per month, per bin, which BFI believes is on par with the price of purchasing garbage bags and blue bags for recycling, said Snelling.
BFI has hired staff to go door-to-door in the next week or so to inform homeowners about the new cart  program and they also conducted a mail program through Canada Post heading into next week’s introduction of the roadside plastic bins, said Aitken.
Some people have called to ask why they can’t purchase their own plastic bins, but most bins sold commercially aren’t built as well as the ones that will be used by the company, said Snelling.
“The carts we use are made of the highest-quality plastic and can easily be picked up by our trucks and drivers, which isn’t the case with plastic containers purchased in most commercial outlets,” he said.
Renting out the bins at a very affordable price also means BFI accepts full responsibility for their use and maintenance, he said.
“If a wheel comes off or the lid doesn’t work properly, you just give us a call and we’ll replace the bins immediately,” he said. “It will be our equipment and we will have full responsibility for ensuring it is in good working order.”
The idea to introduce plastic bins for garbage and recyclable collection came about after the Village of Naramata needed well-made plastic  containers due to a problem with nuisance bears a couple of years ago, said Aitken. Company management was so pleased with the results, management started talking about expanding the program to deal with regular garbage pickup and things have taken off from there, said Aitken.
The City of Penticton and Town of Oliver are currently involved in pilot projects like the one about to begin in Osoyoos, he said.
The City of Kelowna’s council passed a motion introducing the cart program to replace regular roadside garbage bag pickup, with property owners paying for the costs through a slight increase in their yearly taxes, said Aitken.
If a property owner would like an extra, green-coloured cart for yard waste collection, they can call the cart hotline at 250-328-2778. That is the same number they can call if they do not wish to participate in the pilot project or to keep the carts following the trial period.

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