Dysart committee recommends selling composters
By Jenn Watt
Residents may soon have access to composters and digesters sold at-cost by the Municipality of Dysart et al. Council’s environment and climate change committee passed a recommendation at its May 9 meeting to join with other municipalities within the county to make a bulk purchase of the products, which can be used at home to turn kitchen waste into nutrient-rich soil.
“We’ve been getting an increased amount of requests from residents to get more education about home composting, but they’re also asking if we provide them,” said Mallory Bishop, environmental co-ordinator for Dysart et al.
She said some people avoided trying composting because they’d been told it is more complicated than it is and that pests will make it impossible.
Bishop said encouraging home composting was the best alternative if Dysart et al wants kitchen waste, also referred to as organic waste, to be diverted from the landfill. For the municipality itself to host a composting facility would be prohibitively expensive, she said. “Due to provincial regulations, in order to set up composting infrastructure on site, it needs to be an industrial sort of facility that requires quite a bit of money from residents, from taxpayers,” she said.
She said the other option, hauling organic waste to a specialized facility elsewhere, is more expensive than hauling regular waste.
The committee also discussed commercial operations in town, such as restaurants and grocery stores, that by their nature would have more food waste than the average business or resident.
To discuss that issue, Heather Reid of Abbey Gardens was asked to attend the meeting and answer questions about what her organization could do.
Abbey Gardens, which is a multi-faceted property near West Guilford that promotes sustainability and eco-friendly living, has in the past looked into taking large volumes of organic waste, however it is not yet at the point of taking waste from outside sources.
Reid said that in the short-term, Abbey Gardens could help with educating people about composting, as they have demonstration units already in place.
She said in the longer term, they would be interested in being a part of conversations about how to divert commercial organic waste from local landfills.
Bishop pointed out that the provincial government is currently looking into the issue broadly. It solicited input on a discussion paper this spring, which included a portion on organic waste. She said in general the municipality could only be involved at arm’s length when it came to diverting commercial organic waste to a secondary organization like Abbey Gardens.
“There could be a private agreement between you and the grocery stores,” Bishop suggested to Reid.
They agreed to continue forward with conversations on future organic waste possibilities.
In the immediate future, the committee recommended that Dysart et al join other municipalities on selling composters and/or digesters to the public at cost.