Whistler 2020 on the ground 

Getting so zero wasted

With the opening of the new regional composter this fall, all Whistler citizens can now deposit a variety of compostable materials into receptacles at both the Nesters and Function Junction transfer stations.

Dark compost black is the new green. With this infrastructure comes an opportunity for all Whistlerites to move toward zero waste by separating out compostable organics from your non-recyclable garbage. In short, this sorting activity should net you a smaller, less gooey and stinky garbage bag, hand-in-hand with a securely-sealed bucket or compost container enroute to the transfer site.

According to “Stop Trashing the Planet,” an Eco-Cycle report published this June, “A zero waste approach is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective strategies to protect the climate.” Huh? Compost connected to climate? Think about it…

“Significantly decreasing waste disposed in landfills and incinerators will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to the equivalent to closing 21 per cent of U.S. coal-fired power plants. This is comparable to leading climate protection proposals such as improving national vehicle fuel efficiency. Indeed, preventing waste and expanding reuse, recycling, and composting are essential to put us on the path to climate stability,” reads the report. Methane produced from decaying landfilled organics is roughly 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The Whistler2020 Materials and Solid Waste Strategy addresses how to meet Whistler’s need for supply and disposal of materials while minimizing environmental impacts. The compost facility is a huge step toward achieving the Materials and Solid Waste strategy Description of Success, which states, in part: “The resort community is ‘closing the loop’ by providing appropriate and convenient opportunities for reducing, reusing and recycling materials.”

More than12 dedicated citizens, stakeholders and waste specialists have been convening annually since 2005 as the Whistler2020 Materials and Solid Waste community task force. They have worked hard to develop 48 actions to recommend to local lead organizations that will help Whistler “close the loop” on materials and move us toward our shared zero waste goal. One of their recommended actions is the establishment of a community composting solution for Whistler. Because of the RMOW Wildlife Attractant Bylaw, backyard composting is not allowed in Whistler. The new composter as a solution will have a large impact on reducing our landfilled waste and also create a valuable product, Class A compost.

In 2007, Whistler’s production of landfilled waste was more than 600 kg per person. Whistler’s new composting facility has the potential to divert more than 5,000 tonnes of organic material annually (the equivalent of more than 20 per cent of our total waste) from the landfill.

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