A student entrepreneur operating a growing Kamloops business is in the running to be named Student Entrepreneur National Champion in a competition organized by Enactus Canada.
Friendly Composting was founded by Claire McLoughlin and Katie Forsyth just as the pandemic took hold in B.C. in March 2020.
McLoughlin will make her pitch to an Enactus panel on May 12 and could take home a $10,000 prize.
The service, which starts at $25 per month, offers weekly compost pickup and delivery of local goods, much of which one might find at the farmers’ market.
McLoughlin, 26, is working on her master’s degree in environmental economics and management at Thompson Rivers University. She co-founded the company after growing tired of dumping food scraps in the garbage.
“I thought, we can’t be the only people feeling this. This is pretty crazy that we can’t compost if we live in an apartment,” she told KTW.
After getting some friends on board and slowly opening up to individual neighbourhoods in the city, Friendly Composting has grown to more than 550 clients, with three full-time employees and nine part-time drivers.
McLoughlin said the company is now diverting about 3,000 kilograms of food waste every week.
“Food waste is such a contributor to global warming and the proper processing of that can be a huge part in eliminating emissions, while also generating soil, which is imperative for food growth,” she explained.
Composting at home is difficult without outdoor space. While the City of Kamloops offers yard waste drop-off sites, food scraps aren’t allowed.
But, with the city currently considering adopting organic waste collection, along with its recycling and garbage pickup, the playing field may soon change.
“The city’s plan is more long-term, so I figure we can divert a lot of waste in the meantime,” McLoughlin said, noting she has had “really great conversations” with the city about its plans.
While the city may serve single-family homes with collection, McLoughlin said her company can continue targeting multi-family residences and businesses.
“We love servicing those because they don’t even have an option in their backyard. We have a handful of apartments on board, people in their apartments who do it themselves, and we’ve had stratas come on board and service the entire building,” she said.
McLoughlin said she has also considered operating in other communities, but that remains part of the long-term plan.
“It’s on the dream board,” she said.
For more information on the company and its services, go online to friendlycomposting.ca.