The Columbia Shuswap Regional District, the regional government organization responsible for waste management in the Revelstoke area, is building a composting facility at their Westside Road landfill.
CSRD health services manager Ben von Norstrand said the new facility will first focus on collecting food waste from restaurants, hotels and other commercial businesses, and they expect to begin collection in 2019 when the facility is complete. Construction will begin this year and will likely finish in the fall.
Von Norstrand said the cost of the facility will be about $225,000, but the operational costs are yet unknown. “It’s sort of like if you build the facility, the waste will come.”
The building uses an aeration system that will promote conversion into compost, then the compost will be sold to the public.
“Our intent is to make a Class A compost that we would then be able to sell back to the public.” von Norstrand said. The ‘Class A‘ designation is a provincial regulation that requires the compost to meet certain standards for sale, such as having pathogen levels below a specified threshold.
Currently, a CSRD waste audit has determined that food waste is about 30–35% of residential garbage, and a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions via methane discharge. He said the new facility will start with commercial pickup, and that it will be able to expand to residential composting in the future. A CSRD study estimated the total annual commercial food waste from Revelstoke to be 1,400 tonnes. Von Norstrand did not have a calculation for how much greenhouse gas emissions would be diverted through the program, and that more would be learned once the facility is operational.
“It’s in keeping with our vision and the vision of our plan to try to get to zero waste,” von Norstrand said. “It’s a big win in terms of greenhouse gas emissions”
The building will be located on the south side of Westside Road where residents currently drop off metal, wood, yard waste and other recyclables. It will be a semi-open building.
Previously, the CSRD had explored trucking the compost to a private facility in Salmon Arm, but that plan was shelved. “What we heard from the residents of Revelstoke is they wanted a facility in Revelstoke. They didn’t want to haul waste to Salmon Arm.”
The commercial system will rely on private contractors to implement collection systems for businesses in Revelstoke. Von Norstrand said that will likely mean businesses that generate commercial waste will get a separate bin dedicated for food waste, and that waste will be transported by a contractor to the facility.
In a separate announcement today, the Columbia Basin Trust announced a $30,000 grant to create an outreach and communications plan to help get the composting program running. That program will help the CSRD attract local food waste generating businesses into the composting program.
Von Norstrand said the operational costs of the program is unknown. Compost sales will generate revenue, and the program will divert food waste from the landfill, which will reduce costs in that stream, but the final calculations won’t be known until the program is operational.
What about residential composting pick up?
Von Norstrand said that they’re starting with the commercial program because it’s easier to administer because it has fewer startup costs and pick up points.
In Revelstoke, the City of Revelstoke is responsible for picking up garbage from residences and delivering it to the CSRD landfill facility.
Von Norstrand said that a residential program would rely on the city adopting a curbside program with separate food waste bins. “It’s a big capital cost — providing residents with carts.” He added that wheeled carts are the standard delivery model for recycling programs like these. The wheeled bins would also likely mean the city would have to buy specialized garbage truck that can lift the bins using hydraulics. Of course in Revelstoke, the bear issue will have to be factored into the system.
Von Norstrand said the CSRD would welcome Revelstoke residential waste at the facility, and that residents could play a part in making that happen by voicing support for the residential program.