Northwestern Company Opening Composting Facility Over Summer

Northwestern Ontario may see the opening of a new composting facility as soon as this summer.

Eco Depot Waste Diversion applied for approval from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) in March, and anticipates they'll be able to start operations at their Oliver Paipoonge facility, outside Thunder Bay, in the third financial quarter of 2016.

The average office worker produces a loaf of bread's worth of organic waste every day, and in northwestern Ontario, that waste typically goes straight to a landfill.

This concerns Celine Bourret, who is the operations manager at Eco Depot.

"Composting can be hassle-free," said Bourret. "We want this to be as commonplace in offices as recycling is now. We need to get there."

However, the facility, which would be able to process 30,000 tonnes of organic waste each year and start with nine employees, would be servicing a lot more than just offices.

"Everyone is a generator of organic waste," said Bourret. "Our model will allow us to collect organic waste from multiple waste streams, including residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional."

"Our goal is to service all schools, hospitals, grocers, restaurants, and residents," added president and CEO John Staal.

The facility won't just accept waste; it will transform it into something that can go straight back to some of the producers. It will be transformed into high-quality compost or soil amendment that will be available for sale for commercial and individual purposes.

Staal said the product will be less expensive than synthetic fertilizers and is proven to improve soil structure and plant growth.

Potential applications include environmentally friendly gardening, lawn installations, erosion control and bioremediation.

Eco Depot is committed to developing a strong infrastructure to support the waste diversion. They will assist clients with waste audits and developing sorting programs that are affordable; they will also offer a dropoff depot, collection service, and a retail store for the compost and soil amendment.

"Sustainability is at the core of our operations," said Bourret. "We are committed to turning waste into worth."