This letter is written in response to an article on a private sector composting facility by Tanya Foubert in the Whistler Question last week.
I am thrilled to learn that we finally have an organic composter up and running in our corridor. Congratulations Sea to Sky Soils. I am delighted that the municipality is looking into diverting Whistler's food waste to aid this facility. It's enlightening to see this supportive behavior from our legislators.
In the past year, our landscaping company alone ordered more than 400 yards of quality compost from Vancouver. That translates to roughly 10 dump trucks with trailers travelling up and down the highway and increasing our carbon footprint. As it is our mandate to provide “organic” gardening this is not supportive of our environmental beliefs.
There remains a problem. Currently the Whistler Compost facility is using biosolids (a.k.a. sewage sludge) in its processes. International organic standards prohibit our use of this potentially harmful product. (www.planetnatural.com/site/compost-sewage.html)
Composting is the foundation of sustainable gardening. A top dressing of quality compost will provide most of the nutrients for lawns and gardens. It's all a pretty simple and analogous to the forest where leaves and debris fall, decompose and then feed the plants. If only we followed Mother Nature's lead from the start we would not be playing such desperate "catch up" now. You don't see anyone applying fertilizers in the forest do you, the natural processes have been working since the ice age ended. Let's get away from using synthetic fertilizers that are created from nonrenewable fossil fuels. Synthetic fertilizers cause a plethora of environmental and health problems. (www.organicvalley.coop/why-organic/synthetic-fertilizers/)
Composting is the sustainable answer and we should encourage the production of an organic source in Whistler.
If the municipality is also concerned about a "lack of wood fibre" to compost at both facilities perhaps it should reconsider its tipping fees for commercial organics. Plenty of landscape companies in Whistler do not haul their organics to the Whistler facility simply because of the cost. Eliminating the tipping fees to gain the wood fibre is a win win. This may also prevent the "irresponsible" landscape companies from dumping at Wedgemont and other illegal sites.
Let's continue on our "sustainable" walk and start scraping our plates towards producing a compost that we can actually use.
Certified Master Organic Gardener