Summerlanders will soon be able to send their food waste away to become compost after the district celebrated opening a new organics processing facility site on Friday.
Mayor Doug Holmes was joined by Councillor Janet Peake and MLA Dan Ashton for the opening at the Summerland landfill, which already has operated a composting site for decades for wastewater treatment plant sludge and yard waste.
The new site will be able to process all of Summerland’s yard and wood waste, agricultural organics, wastewater treatment sludge and residential food waste.
“The new organics processing facility is an example of the leadership from the Summerland community and how local climate action gets us closer to reaching our national emissions goal of net zero emissions by 2050,” Steven Guilbeault, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change said in a press release.
Holmes said reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in the district’s core infrastructure are both important objectives for Summerland Council.
The $2.4 million project had one-third funded by the federal government, one-third by the provincial government, and one-third from the district.
“Changes in provincial regulations have required us to upgrade our composting system. Newer technologies allow for safe composting our materials like residential food waste,” Holmes added.
The district constructed a split compost site, which will keep food and yard waste on one side, with wastewater sludge on the other, providing two compost types.
“A landfill has a certain lifespan and you want to be able to keep this landfill open for as long as possible because decommissioning a landfill and trying to find a new location for landfill is a really onerous and expensive exercise. So the longer we can keep our landfill open and divert things out of that landfill, the better. This is a great opportunity to do it.”
The food waste collection has the potential to divert over 500 tonnes of materials from being landfilled each year.
“This is important for an agricultural community like Summerland because we're able to provide a better local food waste compost that people could put in their orchards and on their gardens,” Holmes said.
“The need for compost is out there and everybody wants clean, really high-quality compost. We'll be able to start producing that now.”
The district plans to start collecting food waste from residential homes next spring. More information on when residential food waste collection will start will be provided later this year by the district.