At last week’s town council Public Works Committee meeting, the topic of organic curbside collection came back to the table for discussion. Many communities throughout the Cowichan Valley have begun picking up compostable kitchen waste at curbside and have managed to divert up to 40 per cent of solid waste away from being shipped to a Washington State landfill.
There are many questions to be answered to find the most efficient and cost effective manner of doing so in Lake Cowichan. We can all agree that the most efficient method of composting kitchen waste is for home owners to do so in their own back yards using an appropriate composting unit.
For many this may not be the method of choice. So how can we as a town embark on this project and get everyone to buy-in and participate? Also, given the amount of fuel consumed, does it make any sense to ship compostables out of the Cowichan Lake area, or does it make more sense to compost right here. Given the amount of pressure put on local governments to reduce carbon emissions, it would make far more sense not to have to truck any of our compostables or waste for that matter. Instead could we find ways to turn our waste into a resource, such as fertile garden soil or in the case of solid waste, there are processes that can convert this waste into forms of energy. All these questions and thoughts must be considered as we plan to the next step in how we manage our waste.
As well as saving money and being efficient, just as much thought needs to be given to the effects on our ecology, as we look for ways to deal with all our waste. Composting locally and keeping the finished product right here to be used as a natural fertilizer seems to make sense for the economy and the ecology.