Even though local businesses are excited for Whistler’s $13.7
million composting facility opening this week, there is a hitch: Composting will
end up costing restaurants more than throwing their waste directly into the
As the system is set up, restaurants will pay Carney’s Waste
Systems a composting pick up free, on top of the money they already spend on
But that does not make business sense, said Chris Quinlan,
president of Whistler’s Restaurant Association, who is working with Carney’s to
figure out a solution. He added that the extra composting expense could come to
$4,000 a month for some businesses.
“Why should we have to pay more to have the same amount of
garbage taken away, whether it goes to composting or not?” asked Quinlan, who
also owns three businesses in Whistler and was elected to council last week.
“Being environmentally friendly should not double your expenses.”
The crux of the matter, he explained, is getting strata
managers to understand the situation, and reduce regular garbage pick-ups.
Quinlan is already talking with his strata manager — Tom
Johnson of Trilogy Properties Corporation — and Carney’s plans to contact
other stratas soon.
“Everybody is on the same side. It is a matter of getting the
conversation going,” said Quinlan.
According to Colin Pitt-Taylor, composting coordinator for
Whistler’s new facility, restaurant waste will make up 95 per cent of the
compost material collected.
Only 5 per cent is expected to come from residences.
“What I am doing right now is trying to figure out the
difference between composting versus garbage, because some businesses are
getting pickups of garbage three times a week, but we’ll be able to go down to
once a week on the garbage,” said Pitt-Taylor.
“We have to basically negotiate with the strata to explain to
them how much money they are going to save by composting, because there is a
different tonnage fee for composting versus garbage. They are going to actually
wind up being ahead of the game.”
Compost will cost $100 a tonne to pick up, versus $125 a tonne
for straight garbage.
“We have not figured out how to make it financially feasible to
utilize that facility,” said Quinlan.
Whistler’s composting facility in the Callaghan, next to the waste
transfer station, is opening this week. It will be able to transform about
10,000 tonnes of organic waste a year into fertilizer.
Residents can also start composting this week. Bins are located at the compactor sites in Nesters and Function Junction. For a list of compostable materials, visit the municipality’s website at www.whistler.ca .