A pre-treatment appliance is an in-home clean technology that transforms food waste into a natural soil amendment. About the size of a bread maker, pre-treatment appliances pulverize and dehydrate food scraps breaking them down in a matter of hours. The weight and volume of food scraps are reduced by ~90%, leaving users with dry material that is easy to store and can be used in backyard gardening or collected by the City.
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The City does not currently have an organics program. Staff conducted a feasibility study incorporating data from the small initial pilot project results from 2020 and regional data to compare it to conventional wet organic curbside collection. This study found that a residential pre-treated organics program has the potential to be less expensive, divert more waste and reduce more greenhouse gas emissions. Our 2023 study on the initial roll-out of the program will verify these projections.
The program is currently in its final stages of development and we do not have an official launch date yet. Staff recently presented a bylaw amendment to City Council to support the implementation of the program. Upon approval the program will begin distributing appliances to the Early Adopters list and then to the pilot neighbourhood in Fairview.
We plan to launch and implement the program in phases to ensure a smooth uptake in the community. This process is expected to take a few years.
Pre-treatment is an alternative method to a weekly curbside organics collection program. Pre-treatment works by mashing and dehydrating household food waste and produces a dry and odor-free soil amendment that is ~90% less in weight and volume. Pre-treatment is easy to store and requires fewer collection days than other curbside programs. By pre-treating organic food waste, can reduce problematic wildlife encounters. Through this program the City will be able to eliminate most food waste from the waste stream as part of the City's goal of becoming a model Bear Smart community.
All residents living in single-family homes within Nelson's city limits will be eligible to participate in the organics diversion program however the rollout will take place in phases. Select Multi-family buildings (buildings with more than 10 dwellings) will be contacted to participate in the program.
If you are interested in receiving a unit prior to the rollout, please click here to sign up.
The City of Nelson owns the FoodCycler appliance, as stated in a bylaw amendment presented to City Council. The bylaw encourages proper use and care of the appliance, which will be registered to the user and civic address. When a resident moves, the appliance stays at the property unless authorized by the program, and residents must inform the program when they move in or out. Removing the appliance or misusing it may result in replacement costs for the registered user. This bylaw was created to prevent FoodCyclers from leaving the community and to promote responsible use to maximize diversion rates and avoid unnecessary replacement costs. Both homeowners and tenants are eligible for the program, and the bylaw applies to both.
See Bylaw #3566 for more information.
In creating a first-of-its-kind program, the City is in a unique position to obtain grant funding for the pre-treated organics program. The City has secured roughly $700 000 in grants to support this program from funders such as Environment and Climate Change Canada, Columbia Basin Trust, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The remaining costs will be covered by the City’s Resource Recovery fund which is built from residents’ annual waste collection fee and garbage tag fees.
Once the pilot of 1,600 units is proven successful, additional funding will be considered and the City will be in an excellent position to pursue other grant funding opportunities for this program.
Council is launching this program with circularity and sustainability in mind. Through the purchasing process, both the City and the manufacturer have committed to sustainable practices throughout the span of the program. This includes:
The program will pilot Drop-Off Locations for pre-treated organics only. Because of the versatility of the soil amendment, we still have much to learn about residents need for collections.
Organics collected in the Drop-Off Location will be taken to the Regional Compost Facility in Salmo where it will undergo aerobic digestion and make Class A Compost.
FoodCycler Sciences (FCS) has been awarded a contract through a successful public bidding process. FCS has incorporated feedback from the initial pilot and has redesigned its product. The new version is the Maestro, it comes with a 7-year warranty, a larger capacity (5L), and a full list of food waste that it can process, to see what it looks like and more details, click here.
Each cycle consumes approximately 1.5 kWh - this is roughly equivalent to having a desktop computer running for the same amount of time as the cycle. Residents can expect to use 1kWh for every kilogram of food waste processed.
In Nelson using the FoodCycler regularly should not cost you more than $2 per month. The FoodCycler is comparable in CO2e emissions to central composting (before transportation emissions) and backyard composting (if done correctly). FoodCycler offers a >95% reduction in CO2e compared to sending food waste to landfill.
In addition, the City is powered by clean, hydro-electric generated from Nelson Hydro’s Bonnington Dam power plant.
One of the benefits of this program is the access it gives residents to a nutrient-rich soil amendment. It is important to note that although the amendment is partially decomposed, it still needs to mature and does not have the same characteristics as finished compost. FoodCycler recommends the user add it directly to their soil a few weeks before planting or further process it in a well-managed backyard compost system. Fuller instructions can be found in your Program Guide. If you would like more information on the end product of the pre-treatment appliance, please click here.
Each resident will be provided training and educational material upon pick-up. The training will show residents how to set up and use their appliance, access the program and store/use the nutrient-rich soil amendment.
The appliance has a carbon filter to ensure that the smell doesn't bother your household. Once processed the user is left with an almost odorless soil amendment that is much easier to deal with than wet food waste.
This program detail is currently under development. Please check back for updates as we progress.
The filter will need to be refilled every 3-6 months (depending on use) or approximately 500 cycle hours (whichever comes first). You will know it is time to change your filter when you notice an odor, this will not affect the ability of the machine. Carbon refill stations will be offered throughout the city, free refills will be available for those in need.
The pre-treated materials have significantly less odor, and if not properly stored and used this can still attract pests. There will be education and training to promote optimal use and tips for success.