Mission wants your food waste

Rot pots will be gracing Mission streets starting next week.

Veteran rotten potter Alejandra Campos says the organic waste collection system is easy to use and good for the environment.

Veteran rotten potter Alejandra Campos says the organic waste collection system is easy to use and good for the environment.

Rot pots will be gracing Mission streets starting next week.

The district is dropping off one of these small green bins, along with an information flyer and magnet, at every home on its refuse collection route in an effort to divert garbage from the landfill.

The results of a pilot project last year involving 80 residences were so successful, the district is rolling out the program to the rest of the community this year.

Now, everyone can be a rotten potter.

The program is easy to use, said Alejandra Campos, who moved to Mission from Langley last year shortly before she and her family were asked to participate.

Campos was already an avid recycler and backyard composter, but now the task is even easier.

Whenever Campos is preparing meals or cleaning up afterwards, she takes out the small container from underneath the kitchen sink and deposits all food scraps and used napkins in it. The container usually sits on top of the counter, saving her multiple trips to the garbage can on the other side of the kitchen.

When the container is full, which happens about every two days, she empties it into the rot pot in the garage. Both bins are easy to carry and move around.

“It’s easy and convenient,” she said, explaining instead of putting the food scraps in the garbage can, it’s simply going into a different holder. Now she no longer worries about mixing the backyard composter, or rodents and wildlife that might be attracted to it.

She advises new users to line the rot pot with newspaper, and layer it with more to help absorb liquid, keep odours down, and make it easier to empty.

Campos sees the green bins throughout her neighbourhood on collection day and hopes the rest of the community will embrace the program too.

Mission’s environmental services manager, Mike Younie, expects every home in Mission to have a rot pot by the end of the month.

Waste audits continually show about 50 per cent of trash going into the landfill can be diverted. Food waste can be turned into a better product: compost, said Younie, adding food waste not only takes up valuable landfill space, it also creates methane, which is harmful to the environment.

Up to 80 per cent of residents in the pilot project area still take part in the program, and have seen organics in their garbage reduced by 50 per cent, according to Younie.

The rot pot will complement backyard composting by collecting other organic waste, such as bones and moldy bread, and it is a good alternative for those without a compost heap.

Feed it anything that will rot, but don’t include plastics, styrofoam, glass or metal products.

The small green bins will be collected weekly and can even be put out if it’s not full, as the rot pot cannot exceed 20 kg in weight.

The bin isn’t bear-proof and should be stored inside in a secured area until collection day.

In the past, yard waste was collected and shipped to Abbotsford for composting, but now a new contractor will be handling the material at the local landfill.

Through upgrades to the landfill, there is now a one hectare space for the composting to take place, Younie explained.

Garbage has dropped about 40 per cent from two years ago because wood is being pulled out and recycled, and the cell at the landfill that was scheduled to close this year will continue to be operational for another year or two, he added.

Mission is one of the first municipalities in B.C. to undertake such a program.

We’ve been doing it for years, but haven’t been promoting it, said Younie. “We’re making huge strides in managing solid waste.”

Residents who don’t live within the curbside collection area can bring their food waste to the landfill for composting free of charge.

It is expected all Mission residents can pick up some free finished compost on special occasions throughout the year, as advertised by the district.

For more information about the program, visit www.mission.ca of call 604-820-3736.