How much of our community’s garbage can be turned into a nutrient-rich soil amendment? More than you might imagine. One local resident decided to find out.
Ellen Gould, her husband Murray Dobbin and three of her condominium neighbours, Shirley and Dennis Hatch and Syd Riley, decided to combine their kitchen scraps and take them to the new community composting area at Town Centre Recycling Depot in the parking lot next to Rona. Once a week, Gould drops off a large bucket full of what could have become garbage.
Powell River has some of the highest tipping fees in the province due to the great distance garbage travels to the nearest landfill that will receive its waste.
Our garbage is trucked, barged and put on a train while travelling more than 700 kilometres to Rabanco, Washington, only to be landfilled.
Canada may have a lot of land, but landfills require permitting and costs can be prohibitive. On top of costs is the “not in my backyard” factor that accompanies this type of project.
Gould and her neighbours, however, were motivated by much more than the free disposal fees for kitchen scraps.
“It’s so easy every Monday morning to empty my neighbours’ compost pails into mine and take it to the depot on my way to the recreation complex,” says Gould. “I’m so glad we have a way of putting all this food waste to good use, even meat and fish bones. The entire job takes all of five minutes and it’s such a positive thing to do for the environment.”
With 40 per cent of our waste being compostable, our town has the opportunity to reduce its waste significantly, all while creating food for the soil.
Powell River Regional District’s composting pilot project is open to residents and businesses. For more information, go to letstalktrash.ca.
Let’s Talk Trash is Powell River Regional District’s waste-management education program.