The City of Nelson was notably absent from an announcement last week about provincial funding for a regional composting system for the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.
But that doesn’t mean the city’s residents won’t soon be able to dispose of their organic waste.
Climate and energy manager Carmen Proctor explains that city council has approved a different organics diversion program that will see households issued with a pre-treatment appliance.
“Food waste will actually go through a pre-treatment that transforms scraps into odorless and sterile soil amendment that can be used to enhance people’s gardens or will eventually become part of the city’s collection services,” she says.
“Instead of putting food scraps into waste stream, you will put it into a holding container and then into an appliance, which will mash and dehydrate the food waste and it will become a very light end product.”
Proctor says reducing the weight and volume of composted material means it can be stored much longer than untreated compost and pickup can be less frequent. The program is intended to help to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions as part of is new climate action plan.
“This saves a lot of emissions in the hauling of the product to a facility. There are also a lot of concerns from residents around pests and animals, such as bears. Food waste has an odor that will attract animals, but the advantage of pre-treatment is the end product doesn’t have the same odor.”
The appliances are expected to be rolled out in phases beginning in 2022.
It follows a pilot project that Nelson did with a company called FoodCycler. Proctor says the results showed users were very satisfied with this method of organic diversion.
She adds that the city is studying whether there could be agricultural uses for the end product.