Con­sid­er­ing curb­side com­post­ing

Port Hawkesbury cur­rently en­cour­ages res­i­dents to use back­yard com­posters

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY NANCY KING nancy.king@cb­

A Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege stu­dent is hop­ing his course-based re­search on curb­side com­post­ing may have real-world ap­pli­ca­tions for the Town of Port Hawkesbury.

Chad Kelly, a 38-year-old sec­ond-year stu­dent in the Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Tech­nolo­gies pro­gram at the Strait Area

Cam­pus of the Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege, de­cided to look at the move to curb­side col­lec­tion of com­posta­bles for the ap­plied re­search project com­po­nent of his pro­gram.

Twenty years ago, when com­posta­bles were banned from dis­posal in Nova Sco­tia land­fills, Port Hawkesbury de­ter­mined that en­cour­ag­ing back­yard com­post­ing was a bet­ter, more cost-ef­fec­tive op­tion for a town of its size.

Kelly noted they have had curb­side pickup of the ma­te­rial in his home­town of Truro for two decades.

“I thought that there was a need to have curb­side com­post­ing here,” Kelly said. “All res­i­dents in Port Hawkesbury have to throw their com­postable ma­te­rial into ei­ther the trash bags or in their back­yard com­post if they use it. A lit­tle bit of my re­search showed that back­yard com­post­ing is just not as ef­fec­tive as curb­side com­post­ing … You can’t put

your pro­teins, your fish bones, dairy prod­ucts, re­cy­clable pa­pers … you can’t throw those into your back­yard com­post but with the curb­side you can.”

Kelly’s project re­quired a lot of leg work, sur­vey­ing res­i­dents and meet­ing those in­volved in waste re­duc­tion both in the town and be­yond. The re­sults will be pre­sented to Port Hawkesbury town coun­cil at its meet­ing Tues­day even­ing in an ef­fort to con­vince them to pur­sue curb­side col­lec­tion of com­posta­bles.

“Whether we’re look­ing to fix our cars or it is curb­side com­post­ing, it’s al­ways the up-front cost the scares ev­ery­body,” he said.

“The prob­lem is how much longer do we rely on the crutch of the cost; how much longer do we rely on the crutch that this is go­ing to cost tax­pay­ers this im­mense amount of money.”

There are many or­ga­ni­za­tions who have shown a will­ing­ness to work with the town, Kelly added, who have years of ex­per­tise in the field un­der their belts.

Kelly doesn’t have any firm numbers to present to coun­cil, not­ing that, as a stu­dent, he’s not privy to that in­for­ma­tion.

“All I can do is I can cost com­pare with other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties — some that are big­ger, some that are smaller and some that are (of a) sim­i­lar size,” he said.

Kelly added that is not a per­fect ap­proach as the years of ex­pe­ri­ence and fund­ing they have re­ceived from Divert Nova Sco­tia has al­ready brought those costs down. He sug­gested Port Hawkesbury could see those ben­e­fits within about 12-18 months.

Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said she’s in­ter­ested in hear­ing Kelly’s feed­back and she’s also been putting out feel­ers on the topic on­line. She ad­mit­ted it wasn’t an is­sue that had been on this coun­cil’s radar.

“It’s cre­at­ing an in­ter­est­ing con­nec­tion be­tween NSCC and the stu­dents there and the Town of Port Hawkesbury, I kind of see it as a pos­i­tive that we have stu­dents who are tak­ing an in­ter­est in the town and they are look­ing at projects that could help im­prove the town as well,” Chisholm-Beaton said.

She noted it’s com­ing at a good time, as the town be­gins bud­get dis­cus­sions.

The coun­cil pre­sen­ta­tion will be a dry run for Kelly, who will present to his in­struc­tors the fol­low­ing day. The project could also prove help­ful to his fu­ture ca­reer path, as Kelly hopes to work in the waste re­duc­tion sec­tor.


Since com­post was banned from land­fills in Nova Sco­tia 20 years ago, the Town of Port Hawkesbury has en­cour­aged res­i­dents to prac­tise back­yard com­post­ing. An NSCC stu­dent who stud­ied com­post­ing as part of a re­search project hopes the town will con­sider a move to curb­side col­lec­tion.


NSCC stu­dent Chad Kelly hopes Port Hawkesbury coun­cil will con­sider switch­ing to curb­side col­lec­tion of com­post, the topic of his ap­plied re­search project.

Chisholm -Beaton

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