Automated waste collection
Automated waste collection (organics and garbage) involves standardized wheel carts for each home and collection vehicles that use automated arms to pick up the carts.
Automated collection reduces the need for manual labour, increases productivity and reduces potential worker injury, while providing a uniformity of containers across the City. It is also an important first step to achieving Council's environmental objectives regarding waste diversion.
Automated collection requires standardized carts that are designed to work with the mechanical arm, including lids that open and close as they are dumped. Regular cans cannot be picked up by this process.
Standard garbage collection carts are 240L. Standard organics carts are 120L. At this time, the City is not receiving requests to change cart sizes; however, the City is closely monitoring the automated waste collection program and will consider updates as necessary.Image
If you have more garbage material than can fit in the cart for collection, one of the following options could be used:
- Hold the additional material until your next regular garbage collection day.
- Place the material in a well tied garbage bag and place it beside your garbage cart for collection on your regular garbage day. All bags placed beside the cart must be tagged with a ‘Tag-a-Bag’ sticker, which can be purchased at the City Hall finance counter for $2.50 per sticker. Bags without tags will not be collected.
- Take additional garbage material to the Greater Vernon Diversion and Disposal Facility, to be disposed of appropriately.
Additional organics material must be held until your next collection day. Only organics material that fits inside the cart will be collected.
Please note: garbage and organics cart lids must be able to close. This helps avoid overfilling the cart with heavy material, keeps pests out of containers, and helps keep our streets clean.
Carts are to be placed on the street, with the wheels against the curb, if there is one. However, this practice needs to be adjusted if there is a bike lane or sidewalk adjacent to the property, to avoid creating an obstacle for pedestrians and cyclists.
If there is a bike lane with a curb, but no sidewalk, the cart should be placed at the edge of curb, off the bike lane.
If there is a sidewalk (with or without a bike lane), the cart should be placed on the property immediately adjacent to the sidewalk. Please see below for examples.
The collection carts are inventoried and each one assigned to an address. The carts are RFID tagged so the waste collection contractor can determine where a cart belongs. If a cart is found or mixed up, it can be returned to the correct address. The carts are owned by the City and will be provided to each residence. It will be the resident's responsibility to keep the cart clean and in good condition.
No, the carts are the property of the City and remain at the residence for the Vernon curbside collection program.
If you have a legally registered suite, a cart will be supplied. Additional garbage will still be collected using the tag-a-bag system. Place your tagged bag beside the cart for collection. Bags with no tags will not be collected.
The collection carts are designed to withstand all seasons, including cold winter temperatures. In the event that your cart is damaged, please contact the collection provider for repair or replacement to be arranged. Any associated fee would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the cause of the damage.
Yes, a portion of your residential waste collection fees go toward the cost of the automated carts.
No. The cost of using a 120L cart or 240L cart is the same on your quarterly utility bill.
The circumstances will be reviewed by a City Manager or designate and the replacement cost for carts will be identified in the Fees and Charges Bylaw #3909.
Residential garbage collection
Waste must be bagged and tied. This will prevent garbage from becoming airborne as well as help keep your cart cleaner. Anything that is placed inside the cart must be able to fall freely when dumped. Please ensure that you do not stuff the cart tight with garbage.
Yes, in order to change from a single collection system (garbage only) to a dual collection system (garbage and organics), some routing and days will change. Organics will be collected weekly. Garbage will then be collected bi-weekly, on the same day as your scheduled organics collection. These changes will not take effect until May 1, 2022.
Research into the composition of household waste indicates that between 30% and 40% is compostable organics. In Vernon, those organics are currently going into the garbage and are disposed of in the landfill. When Vernon’s new curbside organics collection program starts in May, all of that material will go into the organics cart, which will be collected weekly and composted at Spa Hills Farm, a local composting facility. The remaining amount of garbage will be reduced and therefore it can be collected less often.
When all of the kitchen and yard organics are removed from garbage, what is left over will be inorganic items that do not generate an odour. This will be the case for most properties. However, some residents may have diapers or pet waste in their garbage, which cannot be placed in the organics carts. To help manage odour, particularly in warmer months:
- Ensure all garbage material is bagged and tied shut before placing it in the cart.
- Keep the cart lid closed securely at all times.
- Store your garbage cart inside your garage, or in the shade for as much of the day as possible if it must be outside.
- Sprinkle baking soda in layers throughout your garbage cart. Please do not put large amounts at the bottom of your bin. It is more effective to sprinkle it in layers as you add your bagged diapers or pet waste to the cart.
- If you use material like baking soda in the garbage cart, rinse the cart out with water and vinegar occasionally, to help keep it clean and fresh.
Yes, any residence that has curbside garbage collection will be included in schedule changes.
No. Apartment buildings do not receive curbside waste collection services from the City and therefore will not be impacted by these service changes.
Residential organics collection
The program was developed in response to one of the key recommendations of Vernon’s Climate Action Plan; to review City waste management practices and divert organic materials from the landfill. This will help Vernon work towards its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Other benefits of organics diversion include extending the life of the Greater Vernon Diversion and Disposal Facility (landfill) and creating a usable chemical-free compost.
The curbside collection is anticipated to begin on May 2, 2022.
All residential properties within the City that currently receive automated curbside garbage collection will be part of the program.
Yes, participation in the program is mandatory. By sharing the cost with all Vernon curbside waste collection customers, program costs remain reasonable and all of us are enabled to do our part for a sustainable future.
New organics carts will be delivered to households between April 5 – May 1, in order for residents to prepare for collection to begin the first week of May 2022.
The organics cart will be similar in style and shape to the automated garbage carts that were delivered last year. All households currently receiving garbage collection will receive a 120L organics cart, unless a larger (240L) cart was requested.
Organics carts will be collected weekly.
The organics cart will have a green lid.
Carts smaller than 120L are more challenging for automated collection vehicles to empty and do not meet the City’s warranty requirements for this product.
Cart lids must be closed when placed for collection, so be sure not to overload the cart. If you have more material than can fit into the cart with the lid securely closed, please hold it over until the following week.
Nothing can be left beside the cart. Anything that is left beside the cart will not be picked up. Please hold extra organics materials until the following week or when you have room to put it inside the cart so the cart lid closes securely.
No. All organics materials must fit into the cart so the lid closes and is secured. Open carts will be an invitation to wildlife to get at food scraps.
One organics cart per registered household is allowed.
Each cart will have a Curbside Waste Collection Guide inside the cart when it is delivered to households. The guide includes a curbside set out collection schedule, a list of acceptable organic materials and other important details. You can also visit the City of Vernon website at vernon.ca/organics for program details.
Place both the organics and garbage carts at the curb the same way you have been doing with the wheels facing your yard. Just remember, don’t block bike lanes or side walks. Specifications will be provided in the Curbside Waste Collection Guides that will be delivered with the cart, or visit the City of Vernon website at www.vernon.ca/organics for detailed instructions.
Cart change requests will not be accepted at this time. This will allow residents time to adjust and develop new routines for handling organics and household garbage. A cart swap program may be available in 2023.
The following items will be accepted as compostable materials in the new organics carts:Image
Food waste can be placed directly into the cart; however, to keep the cart as clean as possible it is recommended that residents use a liner.
Liners can be made of yard waste itself (such as small branches and leaves), food-soiled paper containers and pizza boxes, paper and/or newspaper, and Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) certified compostable bags. Only BPI-certified 100% compostable bags are permitted. Food waste can also be frozen and placed in carts on collection day.
Here are a few tips:
- Store carts in the shade for as much of the day as possible.
- Consider storing carts inside your garage during summer months.
- Always use cart liners or compostable bags. Cart liners can be made of yard waste itself (such as small branches and leaves), food-soiled paper containers and pizza boxes, paper and/or newspaper, and BPI-certified 100% compostable bags.
- Rinse out your kitchen catcher and cart on a regular basis. Keeping the cart rinsed out and using liners or bags will keep waste from sticking to the inside of the cart. Using a mixture of water and vinegar after collection can help reduce odours.
- During the summer months it is a good idea to freeze your waste meat products in a large freezer bag or container. The day before your pick up, empty these bags into your cart.
- Sprinkling baking soda in layers throughout your organics cart will also help reduce odours. Please do not put large amounts at the bottom of your bin. It is more effective to sprinkle it in layers as you add your kitchen scraps to the organics cart.
Here are a few tips:
- Empty your kitchen catcher on a regular basis or at the end of each day if necessary. Rinse your kitchen catcher with warm soapy water or vinegar to ensure you are not getting a build up of kitchen scraps in your kitchen catcher, as this will also attract fruit flies. Lining your kitchen catcher with a BPI-certified compostable bag, paper bag or newspaper will help reduce moisture which also attracts fruit flies.
- If you still have persistent fruit flies you can make fruit fly traps with a bowl of soapy water that the fruit flies will be attracted to and then stick to. You can also place a small amount of sweet liquid in the bottom of a cup, cover it with plastic wrap and then poke small holes in the plastic wrap. This will also create a trap for the fruit flies.
If you already have a backyard composter, please feel free to continue using it. This program expands what can be composted in your backyard composting by accepting cooked food, meat, bones and food-soiled paper.
If you currently receive residential garbage collection, you will be included in the residential organics collection program. Please note that the residential organics collection program is mandatory and fees will apply to all residents who use it or not, similar to the leaf collection and chipping programs.
Yes, program involvement is mandatory for everyone who receives automated residential garbage collection. Every resident is required to divert organics waste from their garbage to do their part to help Vernon meet its climate action goals.
No, the smallest cart available for this program is 120L. Strata councils are encouraged to work with residents to find solutions. Many strata complexes with limited space in Canada have adapted to allow carts to be stored outside to ensure residents can help divert waste from the landfill, live more sustainably, and help meet climate action-related goals.
At its February 14 Regular meeting, Council approved funding to maintain one community-based organics collection bin when curbside collection begins in May, so residents who live in multi-family complexes (such as apartments) and do not receive curbside waste collection services can continue participating in organics diversion. This community bin is for residential users only. No Commercial use is accepted.
The bin will be located at the Recreation Complex, in the parking lot that leads to the Auditorium, adjacent to 39th Avenue.
Impacts of waste diversion and organics processing
The food and yard waste that is collected will be processed at Spa Hills Farm in Salmon Arm. It will be converted into chemical-free fertilizer and compost.
Yes, there is a transfer station located inside City Limits that will be used. Curbside collection vehicles will empty the organics materials into bins at the transfer site. The bins will then be collected daily and taken to Spa Hills Farm for processing.
The City of Vernon collects garbage from approximately 15,000 households resulting in approximately 6,000 tonnes of garbage collected each year. Food waste represents approximately 30% to 40% of residential waste, so sending this material for composting will divert an anticipated 1,800 tonnes from the landfill to be converted into chemical-free fertilizer and compost. (Note: This does not include additional yard waste material that will also be diverted from landfill.)
Two collection vehicles will be used for the organics and garbage collection programs. Collection trucks use a split bin system (similar to the recycling collection trucks used in Vernon), which means organics and garbage will be placed in separate compartments in the trucks. Using one vehicle to collect both organics and garbage at the same time will reduce total greenhouse gas emissions for these programs.
Organic kitchen food scraps and yard waste is the third largest contributor (at seven per cent) to greenhouse gas emissions in Vernon, according to the Vernon Climate Action Plan. By collecting and composting organics, Vernon avoids disposing of this material in the landfill which not only reduces the greenhouse gas emissions that would have been produced there, but it also saves landfill space, extending the life of the landfill site.