Nelson residents will be putting their organic waste at the curb for pickup by 2022 as part of a region-wide plan from the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK).
Composting will work like garbage collection, with the municipality collecting it and the RDCK processing it outside the city. The type and location of the processing facility is still undecided, but one possibility is the old landfill site near Salmo, according to the RDCK’s Amy Wilson.
As for curbside collection, municipalities like Nelson and Castlegar now have some decisions to make. The RDCK has asked them to outline by the spring what their collection system will look like.
How often will pickups happen? What sort of bin or container will residents be asked to use? What will it cost and will it involve a tax increase? Nelson will be replacing its aging garbage truck soon. Will the city buy one that will pick up garbage, compost, and recycling all in one trip?
All of these are questions for the new council to cut its teeth on.
Nelson city manager Kevin Cormack said the new council will be holding a strategic planning session early in the new year and the composting issue will be included.
As for the cost of the processing plant, Wilson said there are grants available, including from the Organic Infrastructure Program, in which costs are shared between federal, provincial, and local governments. Although the processing plant will be located outside Nelson, city taxpayers will still contribute to the RDCK’s portion of the costs because Nelson is part of the RDCK.
A preliminary decision on the type and location of the processing plant will be made by the RDCK board at its December meeting.
Wilson says the RDCK is also planning to collect organics from industrial, commercial and institutional sources, but those plans are still in the early stages.
According to the RDCK’s Travis Barrington, compostable waste generally makes up 30 to 40 per cent of total household waste. He said the waste disposal rate in the RDCK in 2015 was 483 kilograms per person, and the Ministry of the Environment’s goal is to reduce the provincial average to 350 kg.