Salmon Arm compost program shows initial success

Salmon Arm compost program shows initial success

More than 30 tons of food waste diverted from landfill over first two weeks

Results from Salmon Arm’s first two weeks of composting are in and the numbers are looking good.

Since July 1, the city has been collecting residential food waste through its new curbside collection service. Over the first two weeks of the program, 31.3 metric tons of waste were diverted from the Salmon Arm landfill. That tonnage represents 34 per cent of the total waste generated.

With compost now being taken to its own processing facility in Yankee Flats, total waste being diverted from landfill, including recycling, amounts to 64 per cent.

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Jon Mills, who works for the city in curbside collection services, is happy with the numbers but thinks more can be done.

“I’m hoping to see the percentage of the food waste becoming higher; this is only based off of two weeks of collection so people are still getting ramped up,” Mills said.

Mills says food waste accounts for nearly half of all material that gets put into the landfill, and Salmon Arm’s 34 per cent is consistent with findings of other composting studies and statistics.

Although the program has shown initial success, Mills recognizes problems that have been brought to him by residents.

“There’s a few concerned people for sure; the issue with maggots has come up a couple times but at this time we have only had one report of a bear trying to get into a bin,” he said. “It’s part and parcel of doing something valuable with our waste instead of the easy answer of just dumping it all in the landfill. I think it does take a little bit of extra effort when it comes to doing the right thing.”

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People living in apartment buildings within Salmon Arm may be feeling left out of the composting hype since the city’s collection program does not cater to those buildings. This is because they are viewed as a commercial enterprise.

“It is not up to the city to dictate to (the property owner) how they should operate their business and it is up to them to find the most cost effective solution for their waste disposal,” Mills said.

Mills says that perhaps the best way for people in multi residential buildings is to put pressure on the property owner to start a composting system.


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