What is Organic Waste?
Organic waste is any material that originates from a plant or animal and is biodegradable. This includes all food waste, yard and garden waste (leaves, grass clippings and small branches) and some soiled paper products. Combined these materials can make up 30 - 40% of waste that is disposed of in landfills. Once buried in a landfill organic waste can breakdown to form methane and harmful leachate. Diverting organic waste conserves space in landfills, prolongs the lifespan of facilities while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing a valuable soil amendment.
Organic Waste Diversion Strategy
The RDCK has a stated long-term goal of Zero Waste, and a more immediate goal to reduce the amount of waste generated in-district by 20% per capita compared to 2009 figures. Increasing options to divert organic waste from landfills will make significant contributions towards those goals. Currently, RDCK facilities divert yard and garden as well as clean wood waste through a chipping and composting program that produces material for landfill cover and eventual closure. The Organic Waste Diversion Strategy calls for the removal of food waste from landfills and will be a key component of the district's Resource Recovery Plan update. Working with community stakeholders, municipal partners and industry consultants the RDCK developed a draft strategy to establish two regional-scale composting facilities, one located at the Creston Landfill and one at the closed Central Landfill site near Salmo. These sites will process organic waste collected through partnered municipal curbside programs in the region's larger communities. Rural residents and local businesses will also be able to bring organics to select transfer facilities. Material accepted for composting in the regional facilities would go beyond the range of materials suitable for backyard composting to include bones, fats, cooked food and soiled paper. The compost produced would then be made available to municipal partners for public works projects, commercial clients and possibly residents. The strategy also calls for the RDCK to partner with and support smaller, community driven composting programs in smaller population centres and rural areas by providing technical advice, promotional and educational materials and assisting with grant opportunities.
On March 4, 2020 the RDCK hosted a Regional Compost Workshop attended by various stakeholders and potential partners including the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, City of Nelson, City of Castlegar and the Town of Creston.
Organics Infrastructure Grant
In support of projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions the Province of British Columbia and Government of Canada have agreed to provide matching funds through a grant to cover up to two-thirds of the costs for organic waste processing infrastructure. The RDCK has applied for this grant to help fund the construction of composting facilities at the Creston Landfill and the closed Central Landfill near Salmo. In doing so the district has reached out to municipal partners at the Cities of Nelson and Castlegar, the Town of Creston and neighbouring Regional District of Kootenay Boundary to commit to launching curbside collection of organics for residents by 2022 - the date by which grant funds must be used for infrastructure development. During the devlopment of the grant application and Organics Waste Diversion Strategy meetings were held with municipal staff and presentations made to discuss potential collection programs and processing options. In spring 2019 all potential partners passed motions to begin curbside organics collection with the intent of transporting to the RDCK's facilities for processing. The grant funding will be awarded in the summer of 2019.
The content on this page was last updated March 10 2020 at 10:52 AM