Dinner scrap powered trucks come to Surrey

Surrey signs a new "sustainable" garbage pick up contract with BFI Canada

Surrey is moving to these CNG-powered waste hauling trucks.

Those scrapings from dinner plates will soon be used to power the trucks that come to pick them up.

Surrey just signed a contract with BFI Canada this week that will change the way residential waste is picked up and treated.

Starting late next year, all organic waste (all food waste, garden clippings, etc) will be disposed of in a different bin and picked up every week. It will be picked up every week and taken to an organics facility. Eventually the off-gas will be collected and used to power the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) trucks doing the curbside pickup.

In a separate bin, residents will put their normal garbage, which will be picked up every second week and either taken to a landfill or the Burnaby Waste Incinerator.

It’s all part of a long-standing initiative to make Surrey’s waste disposal more sustainable, while having a less detrimental impact on the environment.

Under the new contract with BFI, residential waste will be collected using the CNG-powered trucks, which according to a city release emit 23 per cent less carbon emissions and 90 per cent less air particulates, compared to traditional diesel trucks.  Studies show, replacing one diesel truck with a CNG truck is the equivalent to taking 475 cars off the road each year.

The separation of organics as part of the pickup is partly driven by city’s objective to divert 70 per cent of the waste headed to landfills.

“The City of Surrey’s new direction for waste collection and processing will help establish a benchmark in North America, and will go a long way to creating cleaner, more sustainable communities in the region,” Mayor Dianne Watts said in a release.  “It’s important for municipalities to demonstrate and advance new technologies, and to help facilitate new ways of reducing waste.”

The move has been in the works for years by management and staff in Surrey’s engineering department.

In 2010, the city embarked on a successful residential pilot organics collection program throughout Surrey.

It’s estimated that 90 per cent of residents supported the organics collection and that residential garbage was reduced by 45 per cent in pilot areas as a result.

The city manages the collection of residential curb side garbage, recycling and yard waste for approximately 97,000 single-family dwellings each week, in addition to recycling for 30,000 multifamily residential units.

The new services come into effect Oct. 1 next year.

The cost of the new contract is $9.5 million annually for the next seven years (Surrey has an option to extend it by three years). In addition, Surrey will have to invest $1.5 million per year for the term for the new garbage carts, bringing the total cost to $11 million annually.

That’s less than the current contract of more than $12 million, in part because of the less frequent pick up of garbage headed for the landfill and because of the new automated pickup.