Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cowichan News Leader Pictorial - News

Curbside composting coming to Duncan

Katie Harris demonstrates the compost kit that will be delivered to 1,200 Duncan homes in February. Andrew Leong

Duncan homeowners can recycle organic kitchen wastes — spanning food scraps and bones to dairy wastes and greasy pizza boxes — under a curbside-compost collection program starting in February.

The goal is reducing by 40-odd per cent the tonnage of trash city taxpayers shell out to ship — with the rest of Cowichan’s garbage — to a Washington State landfill.

Duncan’s curbside program will see about 1,200 homes given a free curbside compost kit comprising a kitchen scrap catcher, a 48-litre curbside tote, and a sample of 100 per cent compostable bags.

Kits will be delivered by early 2011.

Contactor Cowichan Recyclists will stage educational displays and sessions about how the composting program works.

The city’s curbside setup costs are about $44,000, including advertising and educational exhibits, but council hopes most , or all of that will be saved in shipping bills, city staff said.

The menu of Duncan’s kitchen wastes will be shipped to International Compost Corporation’s facility at Duke Point.

Those household organics, plus those now collected in Ladysmith and Nanaimo, will be processed into a compost fertilizer.

Mayor Phil Kent said curbside composting makes a host of financial and environmental sense.

“It’s a program the city has been looking at for some time.

“One issue was trying to find a low- or no-emission vehicle to do it but we were ahead of the curve so we’ll use high-efficiency vehicles running on biodiesel.”

Council hoped to join a curbside program being mulled by the Cowichan Valley Regional District, but financial issues have delayed the CVRD’s program by about a year.

“We also had to make decisions about our vehicles,” Kent added.

“We decided to bring this program on line in-house and recycling is the best approach for taxpayers.”

The organics waste drive is not initially offered to apartments, town homes and businesses, Kent said, but those places could be added later.

He wants folks to realize short-term pain in set-up costs will spell long-term gains in reduced trash costs — and Duncan’s carbon footprint.

“We want to reduce our greenhouse gases and our dependence on purchasing resources,” he said, “and we may be able to realize revenue opportunities for bio-gas and district energy.

“We’ve looked at other communities who’ve done this and learned from their lessons and mistakes so we don’t repeat those things.”

For more, call 250-746-5321.

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