The Compost Council of Canada will hold its 23rd Annual National Compost Conference in Toronto, Ontario, September 11-13, 2013 at the Eaton Chelsea hotel (formerly the Delta Chelsea).
In preparation for the event, we “road-tripped” it on Thursday, July 25, doing an advance run of some of the organics recycling facilities for our tour days (which will take place before the conference dates).
Joining Danielle and myself were our summer interns, James and Tyrone. For them, it was “Day One” of theory and seeing the real-life of large-scale organics recycling.
The day brought back memories of the first big gathering of organics recycling advocates, held also in Toronto somewhat near the location of this year’s conference
Twenty-three years ago, the gathering of around 100 people was mostly about theory, reflective of the fact that organics recycling was in its infancy. Much less than 300,000 tonnes of organics were being processed back then (mostly leaf & yard trimmings and manure).
Then, the folks gathered round the tables discussed their hopes and need to begin the process of building a vibrant and sustainable industry capable of diverting the millions of tonnes of organic residuals discarded each year, transforming them into compost via a number of avenues (e.g., backyard compost bin, on-site at IC&I and farm locations, as well as centralized composting and anaerobic digestion facilities).
Now, 23 years later, those visions have become (multitudes of) reality, spurred on by some of the original team and added to by many more folks and organizations across our country whose skills, combined with a high degree of stubborn determination and a “For the Love of the Earth” focus, have created an annual tonnage diversion of nearly three million tonnes of important soil-enhancing resources that otherwise would be wasted, buried in landfills.
Together, their efforts enabled Statistics Canada to recently report that 61 per cent of Canadians now compost, more than double the figure reported in 1994.
What a great accomplishment! And yet so much more remains possible.
We have seven composting and anaerobic digestion facilities planned for our two days of tours. Together, these facilities process about the same amount of organics annually as what the entire country was doing back when our Council was just a concept.
We’ll also be visiting Exhibition Place which, when challenged to increase its diversion levels to 80+ per cent from a baseline of around 50 per cent, focussed on organics recycling (for instance, mandating its many event tenants and show managers to utilize compostable wares to complement the collection of food waste and other compostable materials on their grounds).
The days and weeks ahead leading to our conference will be filled with all kinds of to-do’s and final planning to make sure our presenters, exhibitors, host facilities and sponsors are given the best possible forum to share their important knowledge and work.
I don’t want to wish the next six weeks away — there’s far too much summer left to be enjoyed. But as the song goes, (I hope to), “See you in September; See you when the summer’s through” …
Please check out the photos below from our tour and make note of these event details:
The 23rd Annual National Compost Conference will be held in Toronto, Ontario, September 11-13, 2013 at the Eaton Chelsea hotel. An extra day of tours has been added to the agenda on Tuesday, September 10 along with two optional courses: Odour Management 101 and a mini Compost Facility Operator Course.
Full registration details may be found by visiting www.compost.org or bycalling the 1-877-571-GROW(4769) or 416-535-0240.
The facilities that will part of the 2 days of tours include:
i. Tuesday September 10
Walker Environmental Group Compost Facility, Thorold
Central Composting Facility, City of Hamilton
Organics Waste Processing Facility, City of Guelph
Harvest Power, London
ii. Wednesday September 11
Integrated Waste Management Facility, Region of Peel
Dufferin Organics Processing Facility, City of Toronto
Organics Collection Program & Sustainability Initiatives, Exhibition Place, Toronto
Miller Compost, Pickering
Peel Region organics being prepared for composting.