Salt Spring Island to begin commercial composting

People on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, will soon benefit from on-island compost production, with the establishment of an organics processing centre for local businesses.

The province’s CleanBC Organic Infrastructure and Collection Program is providing almost $170,000 to create a composting facility that will process organic materials generated by the island’s food businesses (grocers, restaurants, etc.), health-care institutions, schools and the Salt Spring Abattoir.

“Salt Spring Islanders are known for taking action to fight climate change and to support sustainable local food systems and a healthy environment,” said George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy.

“This investment will help reduce Salt Spring Island’s carbon footprint, transform its food waste into productive agricultural soil, and support a strong, local economy and food security.”

The new project is made possible by a partnership between the Capital Regional District, Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society (Farmland Trust), Salt Spring Abattoir Society, and Salt Spring Island Community Services Society. The partners will provide land for the composting operation and will oversee operation of the facility.

The system will produce Class A compost for use in agriculture, increasing food production and benefiting the entire community.

“Dealing with community-produced food waste without having a composting facility has been an unresolved challenge for many years. I am proud of the many community organizations, businesses and individuals who worked tirelessly for the past 10 years to make this project a reality,” said Sheila Dobie, chair of the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust.

The new facility will be located at the Burgoyne Valley Community Farm, owned by the Farmland Trust, which strives to preserve, promote and revitalize local agriculture. It is expected the new system will prevent the need to ship at least 100 tonnes of compost into the community every year.

Launched in 2020, the CleanBC Organics Infrastructure and Collection Program is providing B.C. communities as much as $25.9 million over three years to develop or expand their ability to divert organic waste from landfills. Through cost-sharing arrangements, the funding recipients are contributing at least one-third of eligible project costs.

This program adds to the Organics Infrastructure Program, which saw the provincial, federal and local governments partner to fund $30 million for the development of 16 composting facilities in British Columbia.