The test results are in on the first soil to come out of the Carneys Organic Recycling depot in Squamish and it passed with flying colours, meeting all industry standards for a Class A soil amendment.
The $8 million facility, which opened in May, mixes organic waste from restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and households with wood waste and composts it in stages using a patented process developed in Canada. The final product has to be perfectly balanced chemically and biologically before it can earn a top rating.
"We are very excited with the lab results from our initial product," said Owen Carney, the president and founder of Carneys Waste Systems. "We have been creating, stockpiling and curing product since mid-April but we were unable to sell the product until we were sure we met industry standards. To surpass those standards during the commissioning stage is very encouraging."
Because of its ability to sell the soil, Carneys was able to keep the tipping fees low, at $45 a tonne, enabling businesses to save money by diverting their organic waste into composting. It is expected that two-thirds of the soil will be sold in the Lower Mainland, while a third will remain in the corridor.
The soil, which is marketed as Sea to Sky Organics, includes a soil amendment, a garden blend and a top dressing, and is sold in bulk for $25 a yard. In the future, smaller bagged quantities will be available for purchase.
"Initial sales have been met with rave reviews from landscapers and local gardeners who appreciate purchasing the premium product at an introductory price," said Carney.
Currently more than 60 local businesses are recycling organic waste through the composting program, up from just over 20 in March. More people are also dropping household organic waste at the site.
Carney admits that there are still some bugs to work out. For example, they are still working to reduce the odour at the facility and the company has taken a number of steps to prevent odour releases, such as enclosing all the buildings, adding lime to the feedstock and building a new biofilter.
As a result of these effort, odours have been cut back but some of the smell continues to persist. Carneys says it will continue to work on the problem until it is resolved.
Sea to Sky municipalities are also looking into ways to encourage the collection of household composting to ensure that the compost facility is working as close to capacity as possible to keep it economical.