Composting facility on the horizon 

The corridor’s garbage company is proposing a multi-million dollar composting facility that will divert more trash from area landfills.

With a $4.5 million investment, Carney’s Waste System wants to build a composting facility in Squamish, which would handle all the compostables for Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.

It is projected that composting could divert about 17 per cent of the waste that is currently going to the landfills. That number is a very low estimate said Pat Johnstone, the administration and sales manager at Carney’s.

She said that it might be almost double that number.

The proposal was submitted to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District this week and has since been forwarded to the provincial government.

Johnstone said if all goes according to plan the construction work will begin in the summer and the site will be operational by Christmas 2003.

"The timeframe is dependent on the government," she said.

The facility will include all food waste, and things like waxed cardboard as well as other kinds of waste.

After a 14-day period the waste will be turned into a fine soil-like material.

"We will have to mix (the compost) with other grades of soil and then there’s the whole market for compost in the region," said Johnstone.

She said Carney’s could sell the compost to the corridor’s landscaping companies and golf courses.

The logistics of the composting service and facility have yet to be finalized.

"Right now we’re doing a pick-up system in Whistler for the restaurants and hotels and currently we’re having to take that through down to Vancouver," said Johnstone.

"So we would probably increase that service and the municipality may increase the compactor sites up there to include an organic drop. That’s would I would envision."

The waste reduction challenge began in the corridor in 1990, when the provincial government mandated regional districts to create Solid Waste Management Plans, in a response to a potential landfill crisis and the sheer amount of waste generated by British Columbians.

At that time each person was producing 1.2 tonnes of waste every year. The province and region asked for a 50 per cent reduction per capita, and charged regional districts with responsibility of making it happen.

Through reducing, reusing and recycling the corridor has reduced its waste by 50 per cent per capita. Composting is expected to reduce that number even further.

Owen Carney will be speaking about composting in the corridor at the next AWARE meeting on Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Delta Whistler Resort at 7 p.m.

Carney’s is looking to consult with interest groups to answer questions and address any concerns about the project.

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