Composting

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Why collect organics?

In 2020 waste audits were conducted in several locations across the SLRD. Food scraps and organics made up;

  • 38.3% at the Pemberton Transfer Station;
  • 30.5% at the Lillooet Landfill & Recycling Centre;
  • 43.8% in the Britannia Beach Curbside Collection;
  • And 50.5% in Furry Creek Curbside Collection;

was food scraps and other organics.

   

This is a missed opportunity to keep valuable nutrients in our local economy.
Produce from the farm should end up back at the farm as compost.
 

Composting is the art of turning food scraps, yard waste and other organic materials into nutrient-rich soil, also known as "Nutrient Recycling". A healthy combination of heat, oxygen, moisture, naturally-occurring micro-organisms and food scraps will create productive soil and can reduce the waste sent to the landfill.

Why send a resource that can grow food again to the landfill? Make Soil, Not Waste!

Not only is it important to close the loop on composting to keep the nutrients in our economy, the decomposition of organic waste in landfills produces a gas which is composed primarily of methane, a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change1

Methane has 86 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period2.  
Municipal solid waste landfills are responsible for about 23% of Canada’s methane emissions2.

Summary:
•    Reduce methane gas emissions. By 2030, increased diversion alone could reduce landfill methane emissions by 3 Mt CO2 eq 2.
•    Preserve the capacity of our landfills.
•    Food scraps are a valuable resource. According to the Compost Council of Canada, globally, composting recurrently recycles 1 million tonnes of plant macronutrients, equivalent to 1.1 billion a year3.

Cited from: 
1.     Landfills - Managing and Reducing Waste (ec.gc.ca)
2.    Reducing methane emissions from Canada’s municipal solid waste landfills: discussion paper - Canada.ca
3.    Compost Week • The Compost Council of Canada
 

Food Scraps and Organics Collection in the SLRD

Food scraps collection is now available at all depots in Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish. Additionally, food scraps collection is available through curbside collection for the communities of Squamish, Britannia Beach and Furry Creek (www.slrd.bc.ca/lovethisplace/aread for more information and collection schedule) .

Organics collected through these municipal programs are brought to the composting facilities operated by either the Resort Municipality of Whistler or Sea to Sky Soils. Print off the guide below to easily remember what is accepted for composting at these commercial operations.

Food Scraps & Organics Transfer Station Collection 

 Printable version

Collecting organics in the kitchen:
 
If you are new to composting food scraps, remember the contents are not changing, only where it goes. You are not undertaking the composting itself. You are only committing to separating your organic scraps from the rest of your waste to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill but also to contribute enriching our local soils. 
 
Consider these suggestions:
 
Choose a container(s): Food scrap containers are like household garbage cans, they come in all shapes and sizes. When picking a container for your household, consider the quantity of organics it will need to contain until you can drop them off at the Transfer Station. Make sure it closes tightly, to avoid smells escaping and insects from getting inside. Can it easily be cleaned, is another important factor to consider.

 
We recommend having a countertop container, also known as a kitchen catcher, for convenience when you are cooking and to avoid opening the larger container under your sink more often than necessary.
 
Line it: You can line your kitchen catcher with newspapers or a paper bag. Although not preferred if a compostable bag must be used make sure they are labeled ASTM D6400 certified.

Layer or wrap it: Before putting your peels and scraps in the kitchen catcher, make a layer with ripped paper or food-soiled cardboard (like a pizza box) or scrape everything from your cutting board onto multiple sheets of newspaper and ball them around your scraps before putting it in the bin.

Food scraps should be separated from items such as packaging, stickers and elastics.

What goes in:

  • Meat, fish, bones
  • Food soiled paper (napkins, pizza boxes, paper bags)
  • Fruit & vegetable scraps
  • Food leftovers, plate scrapings
  • Dairy products
  • Eggshells
  • Bread, cereal, grains
  • Baked goods, candies, herbs and spices
  • Coffee filters, grounds
  • Nuts and shells
  • Paper tea bags (can you rip it?)
  • Solidified fats and grease
  • Houseplants, cuts and dried flowers

 
What stays out:

  • Packaging (recycle)
  • Plastic or compostable utensils (garbage)
  • Plastic or compostable take-out containers (garbage)
  • Plastic or compostable cups (garbage)
  • Invasive species (bag and garbage)
  • Pet waste (garbage)
  • Stickers (garbage)
  • Diapers and baby wipes (garbage)
  • Sanitary hygiene products (garbage)
  • Soil and rocks *

*For more information on where to take these items see Yard Waste. (anchor to text below)

Prevent or manage smells: 

  • Wrapping or creating layers is your first defense against smells.
  • Freeze meat and fish until you are ready to make the trip to the Transfer Station (especially when the weather is warmer).
  • Sprinkle with baking soda.
  • Rinse your kitchen catcher and compost bin every time you empty them. Make sure it is dry before you close the lid or before you start using it. If smell persists, spray bottom with vinegar.
  • Some kitchen catchers are dishwasher friendly.

 
Prevent insects:

  • Insects require contact with the food scraps to lay larvae, keep the lid closed and ensure it closes tightly preventing them access.
  • Sprinkle with baking soda, vinegar and salt to manage maggots if they are present.

 
Storage tips: 

  • Most people keep their kitchen catcher and food scraps bin under their kitchen sink. Remember we live in bear country, waste of any kind cannot be left outdoors unless it is in a bear-resistant container, secured by chains or in a shed. 

For more information visit: Managing Wildlife Attractants | Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (slrd.bc.ca)

Winter considerations: 

  • If your secure storage space is not heated, layer the bottom and sides of the container with cardboard or paper to avoid contents freezing to the bottom. 
  • Do not compact, as contents will not completely empty.
  • Create layers between wet material to avoid the whole mass from freezing into a block.

Staff Testimonial !

A staff member that brings their food scraps and organics to the Pemberton Transfer Station has had a successful collection experience and suggests the following:
 
Lining with paper really works! When you are at the grocery store, pick up a local newspaper, get informed on what is happening in your community and surrounding area. Save the newspaper, I store mine beside my kitchen catcher, you will always have newspaper on hand to line your bin and it did not cost you anything.
 
I use my kitchen catcher when I am prepping food, when it is full I empty it in a 5-gallon bucket. The bucket is equipped with a food-safe twist lid that has several gaskets to keep in odours. The lid was purchased separately from the bucket (sold at most hardware stores). I only have to go to the Transfer Station every 2 to 3 weeks, by that time my recycling and deposit beverage containers need to be dropped-off regardless.

 

Lining with paper really does work! This picture shows what was left after emptying the contents at the Transfer Station. Yes, it was full before being emptied. A quick rinse and a couple of sprays with vinegar I keep on hand to deodorize and this bucket is ready to be used again.


Food Scraps & Organics Curbside Collection

Printable version

If you are new to composting food scraps, remember the contents are not changing, only where it goes. You are not undertaking the composting itself. You are only committing to separating your organic scraps from the rest of your waste. 
 
Collecting organics in the kitchen:
 
If you are new to composting food scraps, remember the contents are not changing, only where it goes. You are not undertaking the composting itself. You are only committing to separating your organic scraps from the rest of your waste to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill but also to contribute enriching our local soils. 

Consider these suggestions:
 
Choose a container(s): Pick a countertop or kitchen catcher that works for you and your family. You should have received a Kitchen Catcher with your Green Bin when you first moved in or when the program began. If you do not have one and would like one, please contact the SLRD email: utilities@slrd.bc.ca.

Line it: You can line your kitchen catcher with newspapers or a paper bag. Apply the same concept to your Green Bin, layer with big paper bags, news payer, cardboard, grass clippings, etc. Although it is not preferable as many natural alternatives are available, if a compostable bag must be used make sure they are labeled ASTM D6400 certified.
 
Layer or wrap it: Before putting your peels and scraps in the bin make a layer with ripped paper or food soiled cardboard (like a pizza box) or scrape everything from your cutting board onto multiple sheets of newspaper and ball them around your scraps before putting it in the bin.
 
Food scraps should be separated from items such as packaging, stickers and elastics.
 
We recommend you empty your Kitchen Catcher into your Green Bin at least once a week, to prevent odours.

If your Green Bin is damaged please contact GFL at squamishtotes@gflenv.com or 604-892-5675 for a free repair or replacement.

What goes in:

  • Meat, fish, bones
  • Food soiled paper (napkins, pizza boxes, paper bags)
  • Fruit & vegetable scraps
  • Food leftovers, plate scrapings
  • Dairy products
  • Eggshells
  • Bread, cereal, grains
  • Baked goods, candies, herbs and spices
  • Coffee filters, grounds
  • Nuts and shells
  • Paper tea bags (can you rip it?)
  • Solidified fats and grease
  • Houseplants, cuts and dried flowers
  • Leaves, grass clippings, hedge trimmings
  • Small branches less than 3" in diameter and short enough to fit in the green bin with the lid closed.

 
What stays out:

  • Packaging (recycle)
  • Plastic or compostable utensils (garbage)
  • Plastic or compostable take-out containers (garbage)
  • Plastic or compostable cups (garbage)
  • Invasive species (bag and garbage)
  • Pet waste (garbage)
  • Stickers (garbage)
  • Diapers and baby wipes (garbage)
  • Sanitary hygiene products (garbage)
  • Soil and rocks
  • Clean wood waste*
  • Large amounts of sawdust, wood chips and shavings*

*For more information on where to take these items see Yard Waste. (anchor to text below)

Prevent or manage smells:

  • Wrapping or creating layers is your first defense against smells.
  • Freeze meat and fish until you are ready to make the trip to the Transfer Station (especially when the weather is warmer).
  • Sprinkle with baking soda
  • Rinse your kitchen catcher and compost bin every time you empty them. Make sure it is dry before you close the lid or before you start using it. If smell persists, spray bottom with vinegar.
  • Allow grass clippings and leaves to dry before placing them in the tote.
  • Some kitchen catchers are dishwasher friendly.

Prevent insects:

  • Insects require contact with the food scraps to lay larvae, keep the lid closed and ensure it closes tightly preventing them access.
  • Sprinkle with baking soda, vinegar and salt to manage maggots if they are present.

 
Storage tips: 

  • Most people keep their kitchen catcher and food scraps bin under their kitchen sink. Remember we live in bear country, waste of any kind cannot be left outdoors unless it is in a bear-resistant container, secured by chains or in a shed.

For more information visit: Managing Wildlife Attractants | Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (slrd.bc.ca)

Winter considerations:

  • If your secure storage space is no heated, layer the bottom of the container with cardboard or paper to avoid contents freezing to the bottom.
  • Do not compact, as contents will not completely empty.
  • Create layers between wet material to avoid the whole mass from freezing into a block. 

Curbside pickup tips:

  • When placing totes curbside remember to keep 1 meter between totes and 1 meter from any vehicles, hedges or snowbanks.

Food Scraps & Organics Backyard Composting 

 Printable version 

 
If you are new to composting and collecting food scraps please note that backyard composting does need to be managed properly otherwise it will attract wildlife. 

Resources:

If backyard composting does not fit your current living situation, consider feeding produce odds and ends to your livestock . Hens love the daily treat but do your research not all food is suitable. Or look for donation oppurtunities in your community. Never feed animals that are not your own without permission, you don’t know their health conditions or diets.
 
Consider these suggestions:
 
Choose a container(s): Food scrap containers are like household garbage cans, they come in all shapes and sizes. When picking a container for your household, consider the quantity of organics it will need to contain until you can drop them off at the Transfer Station. Make sure it closes tightly, to avoid smells escaping and insects from getting inside. Can it easily be cleaned, is another important factor to consider.
 
We recommend having a countertop container, also known as a kitchen catcher, for convenience when you are cooking and to avoid opening the larger container under your sink more often than necessary.
 
Line it: You can line your kitchen catcher with newspapers or a paper bag.
 
Layer or wrap it: Before putting your peels and scraps in the bin make a layer with ripped paper or food-soiled cardboard (like a pizza box) or scrape everything from your cutting board onto multiple sheets of newspaper and ball them around your scraps before putting it in the bin.
 
Food scraps should be separated from items such as packaging, stickers and elastics.
 

What goes in:
Greens:

  • Green plant trimmings
  • Raw fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Coffee grounds/tea bags
  • Weeds that have not gone to seed
  • Grass clippings

Browns:

  • Dry fallen leaves
  • Straw/cornstalks
  • Torn newspaper
  • Tissue and kraft paper
  • Coffee filters
  • Cardboard

Other:

  • Rinsed and crushed eggshells

 
What stays out:

  • Meat, fish, bones
  • Cooked food, food leftovers, plate scrapings
  • Dairy products
  • Solidified fats and grease
  • Packaging (recycle)
  • Plastic or compostable utensils (garbage)
  • Plastic or compostable take-out containers (garbage)
  • Plastic or compostable cups (garbage)
  • Invasive species (bag and garbage)
  • Pet waste (garbage)
  • Stickers (garbage)
  • Diapers and baby wipes (garbage

Prevent or manage smells: 

  • Wrapping or creating layers is your first defense against smells.
  • Sprinkle with baking soda
  • Rinse your kitchen catcher and compost bin every time you empty them. Make sure it is dry before you close the lid or before you start using it. If smell persists, spray bottom with vinegar.
  • Some kitchen catchers are dishwasher friendly.

 
Prevent insects:

  • Insects require contact with the food scraps to lay larvae, keep the lid closed and ensure it closes tightly preventing them access.
  • Sprinkle with baking soda, vinegar and salt to manage maggots if they are present.

 
Storage tips: 
Most people keep their kitchen catcher and food scraps bin under their kitchen sink. Remember we live in bear country, waste of any kind cannot be left outdoors unless it is in a bear-resistant container, secured by chains or in a shed. 

For more information visit: Managing Wildlife Attractants | Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (slrd.bc.ca) 

Winter considerations:

  • If your secure storage space is no heated, layer the bottom of the container with cardboard or paper to avoid contents freezing to the bottom.
  • Do not compact, as contents will not completely empty.
  • Create layers between wet material to avoid the whole mass from freezing into a block.

Multi-Family Buildings

If you live in a Multi-Family Building managed by a Strata that does not offer composting services we suggest you advocate for such a service to be incorporate in the Strata's waste management practices.
Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE) has put this great guide together, although not all the information may apply as it is geared towards Whistler Multi-Family buildings, much of the information is still relevant. The guide is a tool that Strata’s can use to navigate the implementation of organics in a Multi-Family accommodation property and why it benefits everyone.
 
MFH_SolutionsGuide.pdf (awarewhistler.org)
 
Another great guide, this one is from Metro Vancouver: Food Scraps Recycling - How to Apartment guide for Property Managers and Stratas (metrovancouver.org)

Yard Waste

For information on where to bring yard waste please select the community closest to you:

The SLRD has a firesmart program to help manage vegetative debris created by wildfire prevention.

Resources:

Food scraps collection & composting:

Resources for reducing food waste in your home!

For more information on keeping wildlife wild and your community: