11th Feb 2023Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada, will see its first large-scale compost facility built next summer. The province of British Columbia announced on February 2 that it would provide nearly $170,000 in funding for the project, helping the island reach its climate-action goals for the year.
The province will assist in funding the project through the CleanBC Organic Infrastructure and Collection Program. The new composting facility will be built on Burgoyne Valley Community Farm, a land managed and owned by Farmland Trust.
Salt Spring’s Abattoir and food companies will work together with the facility to compost various organic waste from the region’s businesses.
Previously, organic waste from these institutions was transported off the island to be processed by other composting facilities. This transportation wasted time and added costs to Salt Spring Island’s climate-action efforts.
“This investment will help reduce Salt Spring Island’s carbon footprint, transform its food waste into productive agricultural soil, and support a strong, local economy and food security.”
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Project details and concerns
The project’s total cost is estimated at around $310,000, which will be funded through the province’s investment and Salt Spring Island’s Capital Regional District (CRD) team.
Furthermore, the federal government added $100,000 from gas taxes and $40,000 from their Agriculture Canada project.
The new composting facility will work on a rotating drum system. It is expected to compost over 100 tonnes of organic material from Salt Spring Island’s community gardens, abattoirs, restaurants, and grocers.
Project manager Kevin Chipperfield recently claimed that the facility will be able to produce over 200 cubic meters of compost in one year. The amount will be enough to fulfill the Salt Spring community’s garden and crop needs, as the region currently ships around 100 tonnes of compost from outside sources every year.
Chipperfield also addressed some concerns that the facility might disturb surrounding areas, reassuring that it would not leave heavy odors due to its rolling-drum mechanism. The drum will be sealed, and the constant movement will prevent smells from sulfur or other materials to remain in the air.
Sustainability and self-sufficiency
Representatives from Farmland Trust also emphasized the facility’s importance to Salt Spring Island’s climate sustainability goals. Farmland Trust co-chair Sheila Dobie credited residents’ cooperation and action to the project’s success.
Salt Spring Island’s CRD electoral director Gary Holman also expressed his hopes that the project will help Salt Spring residents in the future.
“Most of the greenhouse gas emissions from our landfills come from organic waste that was improperly disposed of,” Holman said.
“The new compost system will help prevent this from happening and move the district as a whole closer to our climate-action goals.”
Gary Holman, Salt Spring Island’s CRD electoral director
Chipperfield agreed with the representatives’ estimations. The project manager also reassured the composting facility’s contribution to the island’s independence from outside composting facilities or sources.
“It’s all part of a self-sufficiency strategy for the Island to grow crops and feed the people of Salt Spring,” Chipperfield said.
The project will collaborate with businesses across Salt Spring Island to achieve sustainability and self-sufficiency efforts. Some notable contributors include Country Grocer, which plans to use the facility to process its vegetable waste into materials that can be sold in Salt Spring stores.
Other institutions, like the local hospital and various schools, also plan to utilize the facility’s services. Once the facility has been properly established, Holman remarks that it will try to process other waste in the region, reducing future composting costs.
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