Could composting be the new recycling?

Not pretty, but hey, it's not in the landfill. (Keith Martin/CBC)

Not pretty, but hey, it’s not in the landfill. Click for video. (Keith Martin/CBC)

We started composting at home about two years ago. I had been resistant: the smell, the slop, the fruit flies. My only previous compost experience was a big rotting pile at the back of a Kits rental that itself seemed to be returning to the earth.

But a friend who goes through a lot of dirt in his garden offered to take our kitchen scraps, and we happily started collecting them.

Now, we make way less garbage, and have sorted the smell and flies out.

But, I’m not surprised that composting rates are so low in British Columbia. According to Stats Can:

  • Only 31% of B.C. households compost (99% recycle)
  • Composting rates are far higher in places like P.E.I. (92%) and Nova Scotia (71%) where there are government programs to handle organic waste.
  • B.C. is the only province where composting rates have been declining since the 1990s.
In front of a lot of compost. Click for video. Credit: Keith Martin/CBC

In front of a lot of compost. (Keith Martin/CBC)

It’s a bit of a problem for a region with landfills that are filling up — where (according to Metro Vancouver) up to 300,000 tonnes of the stuff we dump each year could be composted instead. So, the region is right now making plans for two large-scale compost facilities.

That doesn’t yet put composting in the easiness category of recycling (with, say, curbside pickup) but it is a first step.

Here’s my CBC TV story on this, if you’d like to check it out.

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