Sechelt council is showing interest in a curbside food-scrap collection pilot project with Salish Soils that could start as soon as September.
Peter Doig, general manager at Salish Soils, pitched the idea to council at their Aug. 7 regular council meeting, saying the compost pick-up could result in thousands of tonnes of waste being diverted from the Coast’s landfills.
“The average household produces between 10 and 15 pounds [of organic food waste] per week. That makes up 40 per cent of our total municipal solid waste, so that’s material that’s sent into the Sechelt and Pender Harbour landfills, which equals 5,400 tonnes per year of material that could have otherwise been diverted,” Doig said.
To make a dent in that number, Salish Soils wants to run a pilot curbside pick-up program with 350 to 400 homes in Sechelt that are yet to be decided upon.
Each home would receive a kitchen composting container, an information package on the program and a larger curbside bin to put organic waste in for weekly pick-up. Those curbside bins could vary in size from 23 litres to 80 litres depending on the District’s needs, Doig said.
“The capital cost of the bins is between $20 and $60 depending on the volume of curbside you go with,” Doig told council, noting it would take just over four years to recoup the capital costs if they go with the bigger bins.
The full pilot start-up and operating costs, including pick-up by Grayco Disposal, would be between $7,000 and $26,000 depending largely on the bin size chosen.
“These would be some funds that would have to be generated either through the District or through a grant, a green municipal fund or something creative,” Doig said.
He noted the program wasn’t a new idea and it seems a natural step for the local composter, which currently accepts green waste from the entire Sunshine Coast.
“The model that we want to follow is the very successful model of the regional district of Nanaimo,” Doig said. “They piloted in 2007/2008 and now all their electoral areas are composted.”
He said the tipping fees at the landfill are on the rise and that composting with Salish Soils could save the District money.
As of Sept. 1, the tipping fees at the Sechelt landfill will be $150 per tonne. Salish Soils has proposed a fee of $80 per tonne to compost the District’s organic waste.
Councillors spoke in favour of the idea after Doig’s presentation, with Coun. Darnelda Siegers asking how quickly Salish Soils could mobilize the project.
“The pilot we’d like to roll out if we could in October, and we’d like to have enough data to go on for next February or March to do a separate stream of organic collection full-scale,” Doig said. “We could implement Sept. 1 if need be.”
In a follow up interview, Mayor John Henderson said council is now awaiting a formal application on the project from Salish Soils. Once that application comes in to the District, it will go to council for a formal decision.
“Salish Soils is a creative company with an ambitious business plan encompassing sustainability and economic viability,” Henderson said. “Council is committed to supporting this type of innovative venture. Accordingly, I am confident an application from Salish will be favourably considered by council.”