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Compost expansion discussed
Residential pick-up program considered for 2013

Lyndsay Herman
Northern News Services
Published Friday, Sept 21, 2012

Residential compost pick-up is one of the expansion options the city is considering for the Yellowknife centralized compost program in 2013.

NNSL photo/graphic

Sue Wollner, left, and Fiona McGregor shovel compost into the back of a vehicle during the public sale of compost produced entirely within the city of Yellowknife. - photo courtesy of Shannon Ripley

The program was started as a pilot project in 2009 and, as the project comes to the end of its allotted three years, the city is adamant that it will continue at least in its current state into 2013.

"The project was a definite success," said Nalini Naidoo, director of communications and economic development for the city of Yellowknife.

"In terms of expansion of the project, that's what we're anticipating in 2013. The city has already been discussing it and that's what we're anticipating, that the city of Yellowknife will continue to expand this program and enjoy more successes."

The compost produced by the program, branded Yellowknife Black Gold, was rated grade 'A' compost by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, which means it has no restrictions for use.

Naidoo said the city is still deciding what expansions will best build on the project's strong foundation, however, she did confirm that a residential pick-up service and a larger base pad, where compost is kept and rotated, are under consideration.

Currently, the project is focused on yard clippings and food waste from businesses and institutions in the city, said Shannon Ripley, project co-ordinator for the program.

Ripley said the reason for the decision was that it allowed the fledgling pilot project to acquire a large amount of organic material while requiring few pick-up locations.

An expansion of the project will likely require a bigger base pad since the area already in use at the Yellowknife Solid Waste Facility is just about at maximum capacity.

Ripley said there is some talk of building the expanded pad on top of the old landfill since it would utilize otherwise unused space and mean required equipment was close by.

The real mark of the project's success to both Ripley and the city was the public compost sale held Sept. 7 to 8 at the Yellowknife Solid Waste Facility.

"It was great to see how excited people were about it," said Ripley.

"People who had been bringing their grass clippings or leaves out to the landfill or people who were bringing their food scraps, they could see the final product."

Over the course of the weekend sale, 28 cubic metres of compost were sold to 80 customers. The remaining 60 cubic metres of compost were bought by the Yellowknife Community Garden Collective for use in garden expansion and the development of a community orchard.

Ripley said the compost will be on sale again next year, likely in late spring or early summer.

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