Earth Matters wants your opinion on composting

Survey results will be submitted to the regional district waste committee

Earth Matters ran the waste program at the markets in Nelson until last year. The group's composting survey can be filled out at ecosociety.ca/earthmatters until July 29. The results will feed into decisions by the regional district about composting in the region.

West Kootenay residents have until July 29 to respond to Earth Matters’ online survey about composting.

If you aren’t composting, why not? Wildlife issues? No space? Too difficult? Too time consuming? Other?

That’s are the kinds of question you’ll find on the survey, the results of which will be presented to anadvisory committee at the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) in September, says Earth Matters’ Bruce Edson.

Another survey question:

How much do you compost? Regularly? Sometimes? Never?

A program of the West Kootenay Ecosociety, Earth Matters sits on the advisory committee, which is helping the RDCK to update its regional waste management plan.

“Composting in our area is a work in progress,” Edson says. “I think the can has gotten kicked down the road for many years and it is still at the beginning phases of figuring out a workable strategy for the RDCK.”

If you are composting, what kind of composting do you do? Backyard? Bokashi? Worm?

Edson says one of the biggest issues is economics, and the cost of transportation in a rural area could result in a large carbon footprint for a large centralized composting operation.

“It really would not make much sense to implement a program that has an overall negative impact, so looking at all the angles is important, rather than something that costs taxpayers a lot of money and at the same time doesn’t have much impact.”

What is the best way to deal with food waste in the region that is not composted at home? Centralized government-run compost facility? Garbage/landfill? Private composting services?

“I am concerned that we might rush into a big system that is not necessarily going to work out the way we think, so we are exploring more localized smaller solutions involving less transportation, more community involvement, more small scale backyard composting, bring that to the table to add to the discussion.”

Should it be illegal to put food waste in household garbage? Yes? No?

Mike Morrison, the RDCK’s resource recovery manager, thinks the survey results will be useful although the RDCK did not create or distribute the survey.

“The focus of the new plan will be on organic waste diversion, so the work Earth Matters is doing is timely because it will be considered by the advisory committee,” he said, adding that the purpose of the advisory committee is to make sure the public interest is represented.

Morrison said the current (expiring this year) waste management plan mentioned organic waste in a general way but was mostly focused on upgrading infrastructure such as the Grohman Narrows, Kaslo, and Balfour transfer stations, the closure of the Salmo landfill, and the opening of the Ootischenia landfills.

How much would you be willing to pay, via taxes and/or fees, for household compost pickup and processing? $0 to $5? $5 to $10? $10 to $15? $15 to 20?

A link to the survey can be found at ecosociety.ca/earthmatters.

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