EDITORIAL: Compost turning over in our minds

If people are going to continue to consume things and create waste then there needs to be a place for it and facilities to recycle it

If people are going to continue to consume things and create waste — in this case we’re talking organic waste — then there needs to be a place for it and facilities to recycle it.

Central Saanich and a private composting facility find themselves in the middle of a classic conundrum — people consume, people create waste, people want that waste dealt with in whatever the flavour of the day happens to be. Yet, many don’t want to see it, don’t want to know about it and they certainly don’t want to smell it. To them, it’s something best out of sight and out of mind.

In the Capital Regional District, that flavour of the day is compost. The region’s landfill is expected to close to organic waste by 2015. That means there must be the space available to handle what the region produces as it moves to new methods of waste collection and disposal.

That is, of course, if we all subscribe to the notion that if we create the mess, we are responsible for dealing with it — not just shipping it elsewhere so it becomes someone else’s problem. Again, that’s the classic head-in-the-sand solution: I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and others will be forced to deal with it.

That’s not good enough. Society on the whole has agreed that directing organic waste out of landfills is going to save space for the rest of the trash people generate. Those organics will be composted and turned into something usable. To that end, there are few facilities capable of handling that. Those that do the heavy lifting and turning face the sensitivities of folks who don’t want it anywhere near their homes.

Yes, there must be controls, regulations, limits and technologies used to balance waste disposal and composting with people’s lifestyles.

Simply calling for it to be shipped off the Island doesn’t solve the problem. A solution will only be found when people agree to handle their own problems and the resulting economics make it feasible for operators to invest in the best technology to ease the impact.