Abbotsford’s compost program now set for summer

Abbotsford residents will be required to take a closer look at their garbage later this year.

Abbotsford homeowners will soon be expected to separate compostables from their trash.

Abbotsford homeowners will soon be expected to separate compostables from their trash.

Abbotsford residents will be required to take a closer look at their garbage later this year.

The city is preparing to launch a new curbside composting program, tentatively scheduled for the middle of summer.

Originally expected to launch at the beginning of this year, the city is still waiting for Minister of Agriculture Don McRae to approve the use of the property at 5050 Gladwin Rd., to create a facility to process the compost.

“The Agricultural Land Commission  had already approved the land for use as a composting facility … but that’s not the same as the approval from the Ministry of Agriculture, and in this case it’s actually the Minister of Agriculture that has to approve it,” explained Barry Azevedo, the city’s solid waste and environmental engineer.

The city has already held a public hearing on the proposed rezoning and given the bylaw second and third reading. However, nothing can move forward without the minister’s approval.

Azevedo said a decision is expected sometime this month.

First made public in April of 2011, the new program will require people to separate all compostables (food waste, grass clippings etc.) and collect them separately from other household wastes. The city will collect all three streams of household waste (recycling and compost once a week and garbage once every two weeks).

The company Net Zero Waste Inc. is set to be awarded a $6-million, 10-year contract for compostable waste disposal and processing services. Net Zero Waste would then lease the Gladwin Road property on a 10-year term and construct a facility using state-of-the-art composting technology. The composting process will take place inside a structure to help limit the possible odour associated with the process.

Azevedo said the new program expands the amount of waste being diverted from the landfills.

He said the compostable waste can, usually a small pail under the sink or located somewhere in the kitchen, could replace garbage cans as the main collection device. Once recycling and compostables are removed, little would be left for regular garbage pick-up.

“For every ton of compostable waste that you take out of the landfill, you save, it’s estimated, one ton of greenhouse gas emissions … it’s probably one of the biggest bangs for the buck that the city can do,” said Azevedo.