A Thunder Bay company is developing a major composting facility in Oliver Paipoonge.

Eco Depot Waste Diversion Ltd. said Thursday that the company has applied for environmental approvals to operate a composting facility with an annual capacity of 30,000 tonnes of organic waste in the township. The $2-million facility, which will employ about nine people, will be designed to operate year-round, and is expected to begin converting biosolids and organic waste into Class A compost in the third quarter of this year.

“This new facility helps to meet the region’s growing demand for a sustainable solution to the challenges of managing organic residuals,” Eco Depot president John Staal said.

“As Northern Ontario’s only MOE permitted composting facility, our goal is to service all schools, hospitals, grocers, restaurants, and residents of Northwestern Ontario. We believe that Northern Ontario should be a leader in the province in building a cleaner, greener world for future generations

“We exist to provide solutions to the problem of ever growing landfills . . . (and) are proud to be developing a facility that will create not only a beneficial product and local employment, but,” Staal said, “that also offers an environmentally and economically sustainable solution to managing the region’s organic wastes.”

The facility will minimize environmental impacts by utilizing a proven aerated composting process to transform organics including biosolids, yard trimmings and other organic waste. The plant is located at 73 Twin City Crossroad, between Highways 130 and 17, in an area zoned for industrial use.

Company spokeswoman Celine Celine Bourre said the project will provide both a service and a product.

The “service” division of the business will provide waste generators with a green option for the disposal of their organic waste at the Eco Depot compost facility, as opposed to a landfill, she said, adding that the “service” division will provide a collection service for waste generators who do not have existing collection providers.

“Eco Depot sees an opportunity to work with existing waste collection businesses,” she said. “There is a natural relationship that exists, and that can be leveraged to promote alternatives for disposal. (So) Eco Depot is in discussions with existing waste collection providers.

“The intent is to work in cooperation with these existing businesses which will allow the existing collectors to continue collecting from waste generators they have contracts with, but,” she said, “will allow a system to separate organics for transfer to the Eco Depot compost facility.

“This model keeps existing businesses healthy and will reduce Eco Depot’s marketing costs considerably,” Bourre added.

The company says the Eco Depot facility will produce a valuable Class A soil amendment for use in the local marketplace. The finished product is a natural soil additive that is less expensive than synthetic fertilizers and is known to improve the physical structure of all types of soil by introducing organic matter that helps promote plant growth.

Composting is the most sustainable option for managing organic waste and results in the transformation of a beneficial product that is otherwise wasted in the landfill. A landfill has a limited life, but a composting facility can continue to process waste indefinitely.

Composting also reduces the greenhouse emissions and leachate caused by decomposing organic landfill waste.