Press Release, Dec 2016


EarthMatters releases composting survey results, asks City to start planning with RDCK.


With the release its municipal composting survey results, EarthMatters is asking the City of Nelson to become more engaged with the RDCK regarding planning for municipal composting.

At the City Council Committee of the Whole meeting on Dec. 19th, EarthMatters Coordinator Bruce Edson said if the City of Nelson does not become actively involved in the planning process, future options could be reduced. He said pressure to adopt a sub-optimal composting plan could bind the City to ongoing costs and lock-in marginal or even negative environmental outcomes.

Edson said the survey, completed by 157 residents, is meant to inform the RDCK and the City of Nelson as they draft their organics recovery plans, and foster a community discussion about municipal composting.

Notably, the survey indicates that 68 percent of respondents are in favor of a centralized composting facility for the entire region, and 58 percent of respondents want putting food scraps in the garbage to be illegal.

“62 percent of respondents already compost,” said Edson. “One of the questions with any new composting strategy is how these people will be impacted. Will they quit composting at home? And if they continue, will they be expected to pay for a program they do not use?”

According to the survey, people who do not currently compost often have issues with wildlife (34%) or no space (20%).

“Another interesting result is that 34 percent of people said they would be willing to compost other’s food scraps,” said Edson. “While this might be easier said than done, it does show that compost is a locally valuable resource or there is a real willingness of citizens to be part of a solution.

“Both the City and the RDCK should be looking closely at the cost of any system relative to the overall benefit, as well as their respective roles. The City of Nelson would do well to be an active part of the planning process starting as soon as possible, because we in Nelson will certainly will be heavily impacted by whatever the RDCK comes up with.”

One possible model involves the City doing compost pick-up, utilizing their present trucks, and the RDCK doing the composting. The deactivated Salmo landfill has been suggested as one potential composting site.

“Our region is rural, dispersed, and has a relatively low population. This leads to some significant transportation issues,” said Edson. “Since so many people in our region actively compost, we need to look at who we going to be serving with this, and at what cost/benefit – both for the environment and economically.”

The survey also asked other questions including how much people would pay for a compost pick-up and processing service. It did not apply to industrial food waste, such as that from restaurants or grocery stores, or yard waste.

The survey and contact information for EarthMatters can be found at