Surprise!

The city’s two sanitation haulers are starting a food waste composting program a month earlier than expected.

Representatives from Valley Recycling and Loren’s Sanitation announced Tuesday the program would start August 2.

If you already have garbage service through either company that includes yard debris pickup, you won’t notice much of a change. The Keizer City Council voted for bi-weekly pickup, which maintains the current schedule already set by the haulers and doesn’t include a rate increase.

“We were ready to roll as soon as we had a permitted facility,” said John Sullivan, general manager of Loren’s Sanitation. “… I hope people kind of catch on to it and take advantage of it because it is a good thing.”

“It doesn’t affect anyone’s rate and the facility is already permitted to take the materials, so there doesn’t seem much point to hold off until September at this point,” said Greg Dittman, operations manager at Valley Recycling.

Both are happy about diverting more waste from garbage taken to the county’s Waste to Energy plant.

Those of us that have experimented with it already at our homes are finding it’s actually quite a bit of material by the time you include the napkins, pizza boxes and stuff like that,” Dittman said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

Sullivan still has small compost bins available to customers at Loren Sanitation’s Chemawa Road N. office.

Compostable items like bread, coffee filters and grounds, dairy products, egg shells, produce, meats, pizza boxes and seafood shells could be disposed of in the green yard debris can, instead of in the trash. Plastic bags, animal waste, foil, grease, metals and personal hygiene products would continue to go in the garbage.