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Ramada’s composting program cuts solid waste stream by 70 per cent

Jonathan Stewart, the executive chef at the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre, empties organics into a composting bin. - Dan Kinvig
Jonathan Stewart, the executive chef at the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre, empties organics into a composting bin.
— image credit: Dan Kinvig

Abbotsford’s residential curbside composting program isn’t set to launch until 2012, but one local business has a head start on reducing its carbon footprint.

Since ramping up its composting initiatives three months ago, the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre has seen a dramatic impact. By separating organic material from the rest of the garbage, the company has reduced its solid waste stream by 70 per cent, while saving money on garbage removal.

“We should have been doing it sooner,” Ramada general manager Michael Traquair said.

“It’s been unbelievable and rewarding. We’re doing something that we all should be doing, and we’re actually saving money doing it.”

The Ramada’s on-site composting program was originally intended to supply soil for the herb garden at the back of the property. However, the volume of organics generated by the hotel and conference centre soon produced more soil than the herb garden required.

The new strategy includes a partnership with a local company to pick up separated organics at a fraction of the cost of solid waste. The Ramada now spends about $300 per month on solid waste removal, compared to $700 prior to broadening the organics program.

Factor in the amount of money the company collects on deposits from recycling beverage containers – ranging from $300 to $1,500 per month, depending on the time of year – and it’s clear that green initiatives make business sense.

The Ramada has a “green team” that meets once a month to brainstorm new environmentally friendly programs. The company uses some of the savings generated by the green initiatives to fund activities organized by the staff social committee.

“It’s about developing that green culture,” Traquair said. “It’s really gathered momentum.”

The City of Abbotsford’s curbside composting program, is set to begin in early 2012. The plan is to separate all compostables (food waste, grass clippings etc.) and collect it separately from other household wastes.

The city will collect all three streams of household waste (recycling and compost once a week, garbage once every two weeks).

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