Grey Highlands to consider home compost pilot program

·2 min read

The Municipality of Grey Highlands is going to consider a pilot program with an Ottawa-based company that would see local residents processing their own organic waste using a countertop compost machine.

At its meeting on Sept. 21, council received a presentation from Jacob Hanlon, Municipal Program Coordinator for Food Cycle Science, the company that has invented the Vitamix FoodCycler machine.

Hanlon pitched to council the possibility of starting a pilot project in Grey Highlands that would see the FoodCycler machine placed in 100 homes to track its effectiveness at reducing the amount of waste going to the landfill.

The FoodCycler is a small, countertop machine that is capable of processing organic waste such as fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry bones, egg shells, tea and coffee grinds, dairy, starches and meat, poultry and fish. A user would put in one kilogram of wet waste and in four to eight hours the FoodCycler machine turns the waste into 100 grams of dry, sterile compost mix to be added to soil.

Food Cycle Science currently has pilots running with 30 municipalities in more than 3,000 households.

“It significantly reduces your waste management costs,” said Hanlon. “With a FoodCycler you have a resident generating waste and processing it at home.”

A pilot program would see the company join forces with the local municipality to offer a $500 machine to a number of local residents at the discounted rate of $150. The residents would then use the machine over a period of 12 weeks to process their organic waste. The resident would track the amount of waste put in and report their findings back to Food Cycle Science.

An investment by the municipality of $10,000 would get the machine into 100 homes for the pilot. Hanlon said discount options and grant programs exist should the pilot prove successful and the municipality chooses to move to a full roll-out of the program.

“I’m exceptionally interested in this product,” said Coun. Danielle Valiequette, who noted that the “gold standard” for home composting is backyard programs, which she said don’t seem to be growing much due to their limitations. “I find this very, very intriguing.”

Mayor Paul McQueen asked if the company would include a unit for the municipal office for staff to participate in the pilot project.

“(Staff) will be the believers in it and if they like it, they will tell us,” he said.

Hanlon said a unit for the office could be arranged.

After the presentation, council voted to receive the presentation from Hanlon and asked for a staff report on the possibility of a pilot project to come forward during the 2023 budget process.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,