Hello Hood River,
On Monday Sept 10th, Hood River Garbage presented a proposed city-wide yard debris composting program. Below is a summary of the main points of the proposed program along with some questions asked by the council (from the best of my memory).
- Program would feature two 90 gallon cans delivered to each residence. One blue can for mixed recycling (except glass) and one green can for yard debris. These two cans would be collected on an alternating weekly schedule. Meaning, yard debris one week, recycling the next. Garbage would still be collected weekly. Glass would still be placed in “curbies” (the little blue bins people use for camping, fruit picking, etc…) and collected monthly or on some to be determined schedule.
- At this stage the green can would be only for yard debris (i.e. no food scraps). (Side note: this is not our preference – we would like to see food scraps because that is where the true environmental impact happens, but this is what was proposed.)
- Cost to you would be $5.80 per month (your bill now is about $15/month paid every other so looks more like $30 every two months).
- The program would be mandatory for all existing garbage customers.
Questions from City council:
- Could I switch to every other week garbage to make my bill rate-neutral? Answer from HRG: If you switch to every other week garbage or a “mini can” weekly your bill will only go up a dollar or so (compared to to the $5.80).
- Can we include food scraps? Answer from HRG: Not at this time. The cost to tip food scraps at Dirt Hugger is higher than for yard debris alone. (side bar: true, but our tip fee is still lower than the landfill rates, where the material goes now). Second answer: Dirt Hugger is the only facility within 30 miles that can take the material. If something happens to them, we would have to haul it to Portland. (side note: true, a back up facility would be nice, but in a community our size there is barely enough volume for one facility). Additional comment from Arthur, if we send them material doesn’t it help ensure they will be around in the long run? (Thanks Arthur).
- Will there be allowances for people on steep hills or with small driveways (because the cans are enormous)? Answer from HRG: Yes
- Will “free Wednesdays” still be an option for yard debris? Answer from HRG: most likely not.
- Will there be exemptions for people who compost in their back yards? HRG: they could look into a “certified composter” program audited by a Master Gardener for people who compost at home.
The City Council would really like to hear input from you, the public, on this proposed program. We (Dirt Hugger) also really encourage you to give input to the city council members. This is a potentially big change to your garbage service, bill, and weekly routine so you should have input. Please feel free to contact city council members or write a letter to the Hood River News with your opinion on this proposal.
For your additional research, here is a really great article from OPB on the top 10 pros and cons of Portland’s city-wide compost program after one year of operation. My favorite Pro: 44% reduction in garbage going to the landfill. My favorite Con: “too many bins.”