A Kamloops resident has created an online petition for a municipal composting program, with plans to present support for the initiative to city council within the next couple of months.
The petition was launched last week and had more than 600 supporters as of Tuesday.
Addie de Candole said curbside organics collection — picking up of food scraps from homes and restaurants to be composted — has been floated at city hall, but she wants to put pressure on council to move the initiative forward.
“Let’s get it done sooner than later,” de Candole said. “The more we wait, the more organics that are ending up in the landfill.”
De Candole said Kamloops residents waste almost 700 kilograms of food per person annually, noting the provincial goal is half that amount — 350 kilograms per person per year.
She said 43 per cent of waste is compostable. Think vegetable scraps like avocado skins and potato peels in addition to coffee grounds and yard waste.
“As soon as you start diverting the organics and scrap wood, then you’ll get to those waste targets,” De Candole said.
Some Kamloops residents already compost in their backyards.
However, de Candole said, a municipal program would allow residents to compost items not usually discarded in backyard composters, such as meat and oil. In addition, she said the program could reach those who live in apartments and restaurant owners, which she expects would contribute the most into a compost system.
City of Kamloops environmental services supervisor Allan Michener said the city has in place the necessary infrastructure to collect organics, but added the challenge for the city is in what to do with the material once it is collected. That problem might be solved as the city reviews the way in which it manages its biosolids.
“There’s an opportunity for us to combine efforts,” Michener said.
Most of the biosolids management options include organics and yard waste. The city has whittled down its options to six, expecting multiple methods to be utilized in the future.
They include windrow composting, liquefaction, thermal drying for sale as hog fuel, in-vessel composting, high-rate biomass production and land application.
All but two (liquefaction and land application) could include organics/yard waste. Adding high-moisture organics to the thermal drying option, however, may increase processing costs.
Michener said curbside organics collection is currently tied to implementation of the biosolids management plan. That issue will tentatively return to council sometime in the fall. No cost estimates could be provided.
“A lot of it just depends on what the implementation plan would be for the biosolids,” Michener said.
De Candole expects to present support from businesses and residents to city council and will be approaching restaurant owners for written letters of support. So far, she said, she has support from the Mt. Paul Food Centre and the Kamloops Food Policy Council, in addition to hundreds of online supporters.
She added that more than half of the province is already composting, including Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, a city of similar size to Kamloops.
“There’s lots of lessons to be learned,” she said. “It’s not like we are starting from scratch.”
The petition can be found here.