Composting is the natural decomposition of organic material into a dark, crumbly humus-rich soil amendment known as compost. It is nature’s way of recycling. Compost:
- Adds nutrients into the soil
- Improves soil structure, texture and aeration
- Increases the water-holding capacity of soil
- Loosens clay soils and helps sandy soils retain water
- Promotes soil fertility
- Stimulates healthy root development
- Reduces reliance on petroleum-based fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides
- Reduces the need for irrigation
- Retains and filters stormwater
- Controls erosion and stormwater sediment
You have a few options.
It depends. In general, we accept loads from landscapers, municipalities, and commercial haulers.
- If you are a resident keen to recycle food scraps and yard debris, contact your local municipality on your organics recycling options.
- If you are a business that wants to separate food scraps, contact your hauler.
All food scraps, including vegetables, fruit, meat, seafood, bread/baked goods, grains, dairy, eggs, coffee grounds and filters, plate scrapings can be composted. Wood produce crates and floral waste can also be included.We do not accept large amounts of liquids, grease and oil. Glass, metal, plastic, plastic-coated papers or toxic materials, in any amounts, are not acceptable.
Paper that has been in contact with food, like napkins, parchment bakery tray liners, pizza boxes waxed paper, uncoated paper plates and waxed cardboard, can be composted. Paper that is coated with plastic or foil is not acceptable. Plastic-coated paper includes coffee and cold drink cups, most types of paper plates, dairy or juice cartons, most paper to-go containers, and any paper packaging designed for the freezer or refrigerator. To determine if a paper is plastic-coated, look to see if it has a shiny surface especially where it is in contact with food or liquids. Wax-coated paper is fine. Wax coatings will shave off if scratched with a fingernail.If you need to line your organics collection container, please use kraft paper bags, newspaper or paper towels. Here’s a video with 3 easy steps for organics collection in the home.
The organic materials are unloaded, mixed, and layered into composting cells. Some materials are loaded into the Energy Garden. After approximately eight weeks, the compost is screened to different sized particles and blended into a wide variety of compost and soil products. Here’s a video that explains the composting process.
Adding food scraps to yard debris increases the richness of the finished soil product. In addition, environmental models show that sending 45,000 tons of organic waste to be composted instead of landfilled reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 44,000 metric tons per year CO2E (carbon dioxide equivalent): That’s comparable to keeping 8,000 cars off the road each year.Compost also restores soil health, conserves water, reduces the use of chemicals, reduces air and water pollution, decreases reliance on oil reserves, and improves plant health. Compost adds value to and benefits agriculture, one of the Metro Vancouver region’s leading industries.
Finally, by removing the “wet” organic portion of the waste stream, the remaining waste is “cleaner.” This provides more potential opportunity for greater overall recycling.
In general do not accept materials that look or behave like plastic. If you have a question about bioplastics, BPI certification, or ASTM 6400 products, please contact us.
In general, no. We are not in the business of hauling waste to our facilities. We rely on Commercial Waste, Demolition Waste, and Junk Removal companies to bring materials to our facilities. We are currently accepting wood, metal cardboard and appliances from the public at our Vancouver location as an alternative to the South Vancouver Transfer Station to help divert these items from ending up in the landfill.
Thanks for your interest! Yes, you have a few options. While we are a busy operational site, we recognize the need to take a break every now and then and open our doors and connect directly with the community. We regularly offer 1-hour tours (9-10, 11-12, 1-2, and 3-4) in our Visitors’ Centre and Compost Catwalk. Here are the upcoming community tour dates. Please contact us if you would like to schedule a tour.
- Feb 20, 2014
- April 2, 2014 (MORNING OPEN; *SWANA Pacific Chapter tour in afternoon)
- August 14, 2014
- November 20, 2014
Need more information NOW? We get it. Here are some additional resources about this site:
- High Solids Anaerobic Digestion (HSAD) (video, 2:02)
- Business Day Special (video, 4:50)
- Breakfast TV (video, 8:29)
- Grand Opening of Harvest’s Energy Garden in Richmond BC (video, 2:07)
- Harvest’s Energy Garden and Composting Facility Site Diagram (pdf)
- Virtual Tour (360-photos)
Loving learning about this stuff? Great! Here are some more leads:
- Paul Sellew’s TEDx Talk (video, 14:41)
- Community Engagement with a Cube of Food & Compost (video, 2:03)
- Brochures, Handouts (e.g. “Creating a More Sustainable Future”; “Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion,” etc (handouts)
- References (Recycling Organics, Clean Energy from Anaerobic Digestion, and Soil Revitalization)