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Kamloops News

Share Waste offers solutions for cities without composting programs

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KAMLOOPS - The backers of a new app are hoping it will change the way we deal with kitchen scraps. Share Waste is a program that has residents in B.C. and all over the world connecting over compost.

The app aims to match those with backyard composters to people in the city who have food waste to get rid of. It provides options for those who want to compost, but don’t want to do it themselves or have no access to a city-run program. Currently, there are three backyard composters open in Kamloops and one near Paul Lake.

Compost pickup is not offered in many interior cities, according to Marcia Dick, the solid waste services analyst for Kamloops. She started a residential and business pickup program herself a few years ago, and the businesses are now serviced by Go Forth Compost. The residential aspect, however, never took off.

“The residential part of it didn't work operationally,” Dick says. “It just didn't make sense driving around for three hours to make $20, so that’s why it didn't work.”

Dick says community members are often asking about composting options, to which she offers a personal solution.

“I get requests with people asking, ‘When is the city doing curbside organics?’ And I say, ‘We’re not, but you can use my backyard if you want.’”

Dick says she has about five people who use her backyard composter. Share Waste offers a solution to those wanting to compost but not in their own home or backyard, but the demand for a composting facility is in many people's minds.

“It always comes up, a lot of people want to see curbside organic food waste pickup. The city is not ignoring it, we're just not in a position right now,” Dick says. “It’s never really been a priority, but it's a part of the five-year plan.”

Currently, the Cinnamon Ridge facility only takes on yard waste for compost. Dick says the city is investigating options for collecting, managing and processing kitchen compost.

“Residential collection of organics at the curb is one of the recommendations in the recently updated regional solid waste management plan,” Dick says.

Kamloops isn’t the only place without a composting program. Dick says Salmon Arm is one of the only places in the interior that has a residential composting pickup program and Vernon is currently testing a pilot project with two large compost collection bins. Still, she says many communities don’t have a plan in place for managing food waste.

“There's not a lot of interior communities that do it,” Dick adds.

Share Waste was started by a married couple living in Sydney, Australia. All around the world, people are using the program to combat unnecessary landfill waste.

Margaret Archibald has offered her backyard composters to those with scraps through Share Waste. She says she has only gotten one request from the app, but is sure the demand is out there.

“I don't know how many people know about it, but I know that there are individuals in apartments who complain that they aren't able to compost,” Archibald says. “They want to be responsible about composting, and they don't have the means to do that. I think if they know about it, more people would be doing it. “

Archibald says that although she is “not an app person,” it is a program that many people could easily use and benefit from.

“I do not like to see one scrap of organic material going into the landfill,” Archibald says. “There is no need for that.”

Archibald says she is open to many more people using her backyard composter and hopes the app will connect more environmentally friendly residents.

“Bring them on,” Archibald says. “You can never have too much compost. You can ask any gardener that, we all want more compost.”

You can download Share Waste as an app, or check out the website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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