The Comox Strathcona waste management (CSWM) service has processed over 1,700 tonnes of
food and yard waste since the pilot organics collection program began in June 2013, resulting in a
nutrient-rich compost for various municipal landscaping projects.

The CSWM service has provided the participating municipalities — the Town of Comox and the
Village of Cumberland — with compost to use as a soil conditioner for public area garden beds and
community parks, creating a sustainable and completed food-back-to-soil loop.

“During the first year of the program the Town of Comox collected more than 1,500 tonnes of
organic materials, including food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard trimmings,” said acting mayor
Patti Fletcher. “We look forward to increasing community participation to get even more organic
material out the landfill — extending the life of the landfill and continuing to work towards the goal
of 70 per cent diversion by 2020.”

When buried in a landfill, organic materials do not break down as they would in nature or in a
compost pile. They decompose anaerobically, without oxygen, and produce leachate and methane
gas. In the region’s 2012 solid waste management plan it was estimated that one-third of the waste
disposed of at the landfill was compostable material.

“The Village of Cumberland is proud of the first year results, noticing a net diversion rate of
approximately 150 tonnes with the addition of food waste collection – as compared to 64 tonnes
with just yard waste before the pilot project started,” said village mayor Leslie Baird. “Instead of the organic material going into the landfill, it is composted and the end result is a compost that helps retain water and fertilizes gardens without the use of chemicals.”

Over the last year, the Gore Cover system technology used to process the organics into compost has
proven effective at odour control and in meeting regulatory processing requirements. At the June
19th CSWM board meeting, a staff report will provide details on the organics pilot project and will
present information on costs and benefits of expansion of the project to a regional scale.

(Contributed by CVRD)