News Desk
 News Briefs
 News Summaries
 Arctic arts
 Readers comment
 Find a job
 Market reports
 Northern mining
 Oil & Gas
 Handy Links
 Construction (PDF)
 Opportunities North
 Best of Bush
 Tourism guides
 Feature Issues
 Today's weather
 Leave a message

NNSL Photo/Graphic


NNSL Logo .

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall text Text size Email this articleE-mail this page
Compost facility given green light

Lauren McKeon
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 24, 2008

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - With the passing of the 2009 budget, the City of Yellowknife is set to launch a $365,000 centralized composting pilot project at the solid waste management facility.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Shannon Ripley, left, and Lone Sorensen, right, at a composting workshop this past summer. Ripley, an Ecology North staff member, was involved in the push to get the city to start a pilot composting project at the solid waste management facility. - NNSL file photo

"We're really extremely pleased the city has decided to dedicate spending (to the project)," said Shannon Ripley.

Ripley, who works at Ecology North, has been a huge supporter of the project and, along with another staff member, secured territorial funding to complete a study on composting options.

To begin with, the city will only collect composting from 10 or 15 businesses in the city. The effort is expected to divert an estimated 400 to 600 tonnes of compostable material from the landfill.

"Those few businesses and organizations actually represent a very large chunk of the compostable material that goes into the landfill," said Coun. Kevin Kennedy, who heads the solid waste management committee.

A lot more material can be collected with just a few collection points, added Ripley, explaining the decision to bring the pilot to businesses first, then to consider a residential system accordingly.

Not that the landfill will turn residents away once the compost site is in place.

"If some residents want to separate (the compost) themselves and bring it out to the landfill we wouldn't turn them away," said Bruce Underhay, facility manger.

The pilot is set to run for 20 months, which will bring it through two seasons, added Underhay.

The idea to compost was first recommended in a 2006 waste audit.

"We were kind of looking at what would be the low hanging fruit to divert as much waste as possible," said Underhay.

About 26 per cent of the waste in 2006 was food that could have been composted. In addition to diverting waste from the landfill, the composting site - which will be covered - will also limit wildlife activity.

"We want to reduce the attractiveness to wildlife, not just to birds but to all wildlife," said Underhay.

And there is a monetary benefit as well.

"The more immediate benefit is we'll end up with a whole bunch of compost which we can use," said Kennedy.

Compost is to be used as soil - which is a pretty big commodity in Yellowknife, said Underhay. The soil can be used in city parks or sold to the public and businesses, said Kennedy.

While Underhay, Ripley and Kennedy all agreed there are some details to be hashed out as the project proceeds, each also said that's the point of a pilot project: try all the options.

"Everything is so unknown up here," said Underhay. "The pilot project may work to fix that."