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LETTER: Composting an unresolved issue

Volunteer enabled education projects with limited budgets like this are certainly not purporting to be any permanent solution.

Re: "Waste is a terrible thing to waste"

While Tom Prior’s letter regarding EarthMatters’ summer program at regional markets raised some good points, I would hope that local governments, the West Kootenay EcoSociety, and the public all understand that composting and waste reduction is an unresolved and pressing issue in our region.

Volunteer enabled education projects with limited budgets like this are certainly not purporting to be any permanent solution.

Education projects can be effective at moving us forward. However, education is an important element because whatever the end structure,we as citizens will need to make composting part of our everyday lives in order to reduce organic wastes.

Mr. Prior asserts that the West Kootenay EcoSociety should focus on political pressure rather than education or entrepreneurial efforts to accomplish the goal of zero waste. West Kootenay EcoSociety uses a variety of strategies to protect the environment while building a just and sustainable community. At times, we apply political pressure, while other times we cooperate with local government to deliver needed programs, and other times we develop social enterprises such as the Downtown Market to meet community needs while supporting other efforts. The EarthMatters program has a long history of community education and engagement, and is a logical addition to West Kootenay EcoSociety’s already expansive portfolio.

West Kootenay EcoSociety has been involved in waste diversion for many years, starting with operation of the Nelson Recycling Depot.

In part because of the education and engagement we foster, Nelson now has a high rate of participation in the blue bag recycling program. We hope that by playing a leadership and educational role at local and regional markets, advocating for functional and integrated waste reduction strategies, and fostering cooperative relationships between government, civil society, and local business it might be possible to achieve the same level of community participation with composting.

We invite everyone to drop by the Wednesday markets and talk to our compost educator Heather about regional composting and recycling.

As part of the EcoSociety’s near-term goal of zero waste at the markets and to promote waste reduction regionally, she will be gathering information from various sources throughout the summer. You can also visit

Thanks to the supporters of this project for helping enable our community’s capacity in this regard, and Mr. Prior for his letter encouraging discussion about this important topic.

Bruce Edson, EarthMatters Project, West Kootenay EcoSociety