VERNON - Interest is growing for a city-wide composting program in Vernon.
The idea is to eventually provide curbside pick up, just like you have for garbage and recycling — just for compost.
“We are trying to teach our kids about being green and environmentally friendly, yet here we are throwing all these things in the garbage. It doesn’t have to be that way,” Coun. Dalvir Nahal says.
Compost pick up is already offered in many cities, including Vancouver where throwing food scraps into the garbage is actually banned.
One of the big questions is cost, however Nahal believes a weekly compost service would reduce the need for garbage pick up.
“It would balance out the cost,” she says.
The other question is how many people would participate. Nahal posed that question on social media and many commenters said they would support a compost program.
Nahal admits it’s easy for people to go online and pledge their support, so she’s suggesting a pilot project to gauge just how much people are truly willing to participate.
“I am proposing a trial to see how people react to it,” she says. “Something I am thinking of is to put bins at the recycling facilities and see if people would be willing to take compost there. If we get a positive response from the community, we can put more resources into making it into a pick up style.”
Some residents might be surprised to know there is already a compost pick-up service in the North Okanagan and Shuswap. Spa Hills Farm provides bins and pick up, and composts the material at a facility in Salmon Arm, spokesperson Keli Westgate says. The material is then used on the farm to add nutrients to wheat, straw and other crops. They also sell the finished product.
Right now, the farm’s clients include restaurants, golf courses, hospitals, and other businesses, but the service is also open to multi-unit residences and strata complexes.
“It’s exactly like your garbage pick up, we come once a week,” Westgate says.
While some residents may be concerned about the odour, Westgate says compost is no smellier than garbage — especially considering it’s the same materials.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about what can go in,” she says. “Anything that’s not plastic, metal or glass can go in, which is usually more than people expect.”
Spa Hills accepts all paper products and all food waste, including meat and bones. They have various bin sizes, from totes to dumpsters and they also sell fully compostable bags and under counter units.
“Once you start composting, your really realize how much of your waste could be a valuable product,” she says.
Vernon council is expected to discuss the idea on Monday, Jan. 23.
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