Did you know that food and yard waste is not garbage? It is actually a valuable resource that can be transformed into nutrient-rich compost when it is redirected from the landfill. The agricultural community and backyard gardeners often refer to compost as “black gold.”
This is one of the reasons why the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is introducing the new Sort’nGo Organics roadside collection program this spring: to capitalize on the opportunity for ‘black gold’ and improve the management of our landfill at the same time. Here are some of the benefits:
Value of compost
Composting adds nutrients to soil and fosters the growth of beneficial microorganisms, insects, and earthworms. Compost helps to minimize wind and water erosion by retaining moisture in the soil and encouraging healthy root growth.Compost replenishes exhausted soils by replacing trace minerals and can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, promoting higher yields of agricultural crops or abundant, vibrant flower gardens.
Extending the life of the landfill
Landfill space is beneficial for long-term waste management and should only be used for materials that cannot be reused or recycled. Food waste contributes 30 to 50 per cent of waste sent to the landfill and uses up a lot of precious landfill space, which is finite. Once residents of the Alberni Valley take part in diverting organics from the landfill using the roadside collection program, we can extend its lifespan by an additional 35 years.
Reduce the production of methane gas
In the landfill, organic waste is buried under layers of other waste and without access to oxygen, it cannot decompose properly. This creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and other harmful environmental issues. Without reducing the amount of methane gas, the ACRD will need to invest in costly gas-capture systems to meet current operational standards.
Ability to compost items unsuitable for backyard composting
Hurray for those who are backyard composting! Please continue to do so as this is ideal. The Organics cart will still be handy for the items that are unsuitable for backyard compost. The company processing food waste is utilizing a system that has the ability to break down items such as dairy, grease, bones, and meat. The yard waste component is also handy with regards to larger woody debris that would typically need to be chipped prior to going into a backyard compost.
Residents will be able to access compost
The processing contract states that 10 per cent of the compost created will be made available to the community. Currently the ACRD is working on details about how compost will be accessed, cost, etc.and will share more as the details unfold.
Composting literally transforms what would have been thrown in the trash into an incredibly valuable resource, one that improves the yield of backyard gardens, increasing food security initiatives, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and extends the life of our landfill. By creating a closed loop system, what was once considered garbage becomes “black gold.”
Visit www.letsconnectacrd.ca for more information about the Organics Collection Service and to ask questions. Questions about sorting? Download the free Sort’nGo app go from your mobile app store. You can also check out the Facebook Page “Alberni Valley Waste Reduction Education” which has weekly tips and updates for the valley.