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FoodCyclers to be rolled out for household use for organics diversion program

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
May 12th, 2023

Let the composting begin.

The City has opened the door to the next phase of residential composting with the approval for the launch of organics diversion pilot program, through an amendment to the Waste Management and Wildife Attractant Bylaw.

Using countertop appliances to pre-treat household organics, around 1,600 households in the Fairview neighbourhood of Nelson — as well as early adopters who took part in an earlier pilot program — will form the core of the program.

“Over the next few months a vague launch of the home composting program — via the product called the FoodCycler — will begin with the first shipment of 1,600 home composting units before the end of the year,” said City climate and energy manager Carmen Procter, in her report to council.

A $700,000 “grant” will be used to fund the program that takes home waste organic matter and turns it into material ready for composting. Organics will be collected from Nelsonites once the program is fully operational, but it could be some time before that happens.

“This is one more piece of the puzzle to be inserted to move on and get the recyclers out the door and into a kitchen near you,” said Mayor Janice Morrison during the council meeting May 9 in council chambers.

Long time running

Four years ago the investigation into curbside compost collection in Nelson began, after the regional district brought forward the idea of diverting the waste.

An RDCK Joint Resource Recovery meeting that year revealed the opportunity to apply for funding through the provincial Organic Infrastructure Program Fund (OIP) to set up a regional composting program and a compost processing facility.

At the time the city disputed some of the assumptions the RDCK made around curbside collection without actually knowing the real consequence and circumstance in the city regarding garbage collection.

“I do not believe our community produces garbage at a rate similar to our neighbouring communities and they assume that we do without even knowing our community,” said Nelson city manager Kevin Cormack.

He thought the regional district should develop a study on how many people from Nelson were actually dumping garbage at the transfer station. The authors of the regional district report noted that the total tonnage of residential garbage collected at the curb in Nelson (626 tonnes in 2017) was low, as much as a third lower than neighbouring municipalities.

“This could be attributed to the proximity to the Grohman Narrows Transfer Station for residents who prefer to self-haul their garbage between the scheduled bi-weekly collection days, coupled with a reluctance to pre-purchase disposal tags and the bags,” the RDCK staff report at the time read.

Anecdotal evidence from transfer station staff estimated that over one third of users bringing household waste to the facility were Nelson residents, the regional district report noted.

“But that is pretty critical in a number of assumptions that they are making,” Cormack pointed out.

The discussion was the beginning of Nelson’s quest to deliver its own curbside service, and the regional district setting up its own region-wide service.

Source: The Nelson Daily, Oct. 26, 2022

Next steps

When the first phase of the program is implemented an external waste management consultant will evaluate the program based on selected criteria to determine if it is working as intended.

The criteria will consider social, environmental, technical and financial aspects of the program.

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