When Dirt Hugger was still a glimmer in our eye a main goal was to help get curbside composting going in the gorge area, especially our home town, Hood River. It was a driving reason we left our jobs to start this business. Seven years later, we are happy to report that curbside composting will begin the week of May 1st. The seeds were set for this by David Skakel and Tri Counties Recycling eight years ago and they were sown by the current Hood River City Council, Hood River Garbage, and a boat load of concerned citizens. For that we are thankful.
So, you may be wondering what to do with the three new carts that will be delivered to your driveway starting next week. Here’s a quick run down:
What? – new collection service and new carts. The service will offer composting (yard debris and food scraps) every week. Recycling and garbage will alternate every other week. There will be a calendar included with your cart. In short one week will be compost and garbage the next week compost and recycling.
Why? – for starters this is keeping in line with best practices for materials management. The bins are larger to accommodate for increased recycling and landfill diversion. The carts are safer for the drivers (torn rotator cuffs are very common in waste hauling). Plus, the lids are attached to the carts so hopefully fewer of them will be blowing down the street on your commute home from work.
When? – Starting the week of May 1st
How Much? – rates will increase for all Hood River Garbage customers by $7.25/month. Ouch – yes we know, the increase is to pay for collection trucks and the carts ($60 each). We are told that on average 10% of the carts are renewed each year, so there is a recurring cost with regards to the carts. Also, for the record, it is less expensive to bring materials to a composting site than the landfill.
What does Dirt Hugger have to do with this? – Dirt Hugger will process all of the compost materials emanating from this new service. The good news is roughly 30% of a typical household waste stream is compostable. We will help divert that from the landfill and turn it into organic soil amendment. Last year we composted 32,000 tons of material. We expect an additional 1,000 tons of material from this program so we will see a bump in our production.
Anything else? Yes! Our one request to everyone in this new program is to please keep anything that isn’t food or yard debris out of your cart. A good rule of thumb is ‘if you can eat it, we will compost it’. Composting is great, but it is not the end-all garbage solution. Please don’t optimistically put in things to your compost bin. We cannot take compostable bags, coffee cups, dirt (ironic we know), rocks, shoes (we get one a day), or compostable utensils. The marketers for ‘compostable’ products are very good. They will tell you that these green color items are the answer to your problems, but believe us, they wreck our system and equipment and we hand pick out all things that are not food or yard debris. It is a disgusting job and it is time consuming and expensive to do.
Please remove all food from their bags, packaging and twist ties. We appreciate it.