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Extra composting costs worry businesses

Restaurant Association, Carneys buckle down to solve problem

Even though local businesses are excited for Whistler’s $13.7 million composting facility opening this week, there is a hitch: Composting will end up costing restaurants more than throwing their waste directly into the trash.

As the system is set up, restaurants will pay Carney’s Waste Systems a composting pick up free, on top of the money they already spend on garbage collection.

But that does not make business sense, said Chris Quinlan, president of Whistler’s Restaurant Association, who is working with Carney’s to figure out a solution. He added that the extra composting expense could come to $4,000 a month for some businesses.

“Why should we have to pay more to have the same amount of garbage taken away, whether it goes to composting or not?” asked Quinlan, who also owns three businesses in Whistler and was elected to council last week.

“Being environmentally friendly should not double your expenses.”

The crux of the matter, he explained, is getting strata managers to understand the situation, and reduce regular garbage pick-ups.

Quinlan is already talking with his strata manager — Tom Johnson of Trilogy Properties Corporation — and Carney’s plans to contact other stratas soon.

“Everybody is on the same side. It is a matter of getting the conversation going,” said Quinlan.

According to Colin Pitt-Taylor, composting coordinator for Whistler’s new facility, restaurant waste will make up 95 per cent of the compost material collected.

Only 5 per cent is expected to come from residences.

“What I am doing right now is trying to figure out the difference between composting versus garbage, because some businesses are getting pickups of garbage three times a week, but we’ll be able to go down to once a week on the garbage,” said Pitt-Taylor.

“We have to basically negotiate with the strata to explain to them how much money they are going to save by composting, because there is a different tonnage fee for composting versus garbage. They are going to actually wind up being ahead of the game.”

Compost will cost $100 a tonne to pick up, versus $125 a tonne for straight garbage.

“We have not figured out how to make it financially feasible to utilize that facility,” said Quinlan.

Whistler’s composting facility in the Callaghan, next to the waste transfer station, is opening this week. It will be able to transform about 10,000 tonnes of organic waste a year into fertilizer.

Residents can also start composting this week. Bins are located at the compactor sites in Nesters and Function Junction. For a list of compostable materials, visit the municipality’s website at .