Columbia Shuswap Regional District Environmental Health Team Leader Ben Van Nostrand shows off one of the compost bins office staff are using to keep organic waste out of the landfill on Friday, Sept. 8. -image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

CSRD aims to increase composting

Program starts with commercial, institutional, sport and care facilities.

The plan to divert 30 per cent of waste from Columbia Shuswap Regional District landfills is underway.

Collection and diversion of organic waste such as food and kitchen waste is now the preferred option for restaurants, hotels, apartment buildings, schools, theatres, arenas and other sports facilities, grocery stores, factories, hospitals, nursing homes and senior care facilities, farms and greenhouses and all other businesses and institutions in Salmon Arm and the Shuswap.

Endorsed at a November 2015 regional district board meeting, the organic waste diversion program went into effect on July 1 of this year and includes paper products soiled by food waste.

“It is not a prohibited waste; what the bylaw creates is the idea of a mixed load,” says Ben Van Nostrand, CSRD’s team leader of Environmental Health Service. “If you are putting it in with your garbage, instead of paying $80 a ton, the new rate is $160 a ton, and that goes for all the products. If you don’t want to take the time to separate it out, you’re gonna pay more.”

A solid waste management review completed in April 2015 revealed collection and diversion of organic wastes as a top priority and the regional district has developed a phased plan to address the issue.

“The other important thing is it will be phased in over time; we are starting to examine loads and what we want to do is work with haulers and find out through that who’s not taking part, what are the barriers and why are you not doing it?” Van Nostrand says. “Is there no physical space? Is it a monetary? How do we get this landfill to last by changing people’s habits?”

Waste Connections, Winkler, Cheap Garbage and Waste Management, the main service providers in Salmon Arm and the Shuswap were provided with a letter to send to all their clients advising them of the changes.

And, thanks to the Spa Hills Farm composting operation in Silver Creek, the regional district was able to begin the program with commercial and institutional organizations.

“If the majority of people on the collection run take part, that’s a win in my book,” says Van Nostrand. “We don’t want to charge them higher rates, we’re hoping to get people on-board without having to use a stick.”

The materials that can be diverted from your waste stream includes, but is not limited to: sauces, dressings, etc., vegetable and fruit peels, seeds and pits, coffee grounds, filters and tea bags, paper towels, food soiled paper cups and plates, food-soiled newspaper, paper bags and paper bag liners used for collecting food scraps, meat and fish, bones, seafood shells, egg shells, pasta, bread and rice and, dairy products.

For more information, contact the CSRD at 250-832-8194 or 250-833-5950 or your current service provider.