A City of Nelson report on the feasibility of institutional or commercial composting in Nelson recommends specific composting systems and identifies three possible pilot sites in Nelson.
However, this does not mean that the city will be getting into the composting business.
Fiona Galbraith, the local consultant who wrote the report, told the Star, “It is not the city’s responsibility to manage commercial waste. But they wanted to do something, to provide a resource to encourage businesses and institutions to go this route.”
Galbraith is the consultant who has also coordinated the city’s greenhouse gas reduction plan and its investigation of a district energy system.
The report recommends that Selkirk College’s Tenth Street Campus, Kootenay Lake Hospital, and Alpine View Estates would be good sites for a pilot project.
As for residential composting, that is not the city’s job either, but the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s. Its waste recovery plan suggests that it might start thinking about residential composting in 2017.
The city’s report ends with five recommendations:
- Identify grant opportunities and partner organizations;
- Carry out waste audits for pilot sites;
- Designate a support person;
- Continue to educate and communicate with identified pilot sites;
- Share information with other institutional and commercial facilities in Nelson.
Local environmental consultant Michael Jessen thinks those recommendations miss the point, and that the focus should be on helping people compost at the household and neighbourhood level.
“It is a travesty that it is taking so long to deal with the 35 to 45 per cent of the waste stream that is compostable,” he said, pointing out that this percentage was confirmed locally in 2001 in a waste analysis for the Kootenay Boundary Regional District.
Composting at the neighbourhood or back yard level, says Jessen, “involves getting citizen participation and governments are not very good at the citizen part, they would rather impose a system on the public, and I believe that is the wrong way to go about it.”
The city’s report distinguishes between large and small scale composting systems, concludes that small scale systems would be best for the identified institutional sites, and describes three types of appropriate systems: multi-bin systems in which material is manually moved from bin to bin, vermicomposting which uses earthworms, and in-vessel systems in which materials are enclosed in a container and maintained under uniform conditions of temperature and moisture.
The report is attached below.