Changing a dirty business: Calgary composter helps restaurants turn waste away from landfill
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A Calgary business is partnering with local restaurants to serve up their own recipe: a hand crafted organic compost – so clean you could eat it.
Hop Compost is a new service picking up food-waste from a selection of Calgary’s restaurants to be delivered and processed at Canada’s first urban composting facility. The product created boasts a GMO free label and will then be sold to growers and gardeners looking to sprout their seeds in a healthy compost mix.
“As opposed to a conventional operation which would require acres and acres and acres of space … we can do it from an 8,000 square foot vintage building,” said Kevin Davies, founder of Hop. “We’re within about five minutes from a lot of the locations we collect from.”
The facility is on track to divert 2 million pounds of waste from landfills, saving over 64,000 cubic feet of landfill space and preventing 10 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from polluting Calgary skies. It’s tucked away just outside of Ramsay, down the street from Nash, one of the restaurants contributing their kitchen scraps.
“If we can divert products from the landfill to make compost, which then of course gets turned into soil so that there’s more opportunity for our restaurants to be using locally grown Alberta produce, that’s a no-brainer in our world,” said The Nash chef Matthew Batey.
The composting method is pretty high-tech, Davies said touch screens give them a glance at the specs while soil is cooking, continually optimizing itself to create an ideal environment down to the minute – and restaurants can also keep track of the impact their diverted waste is having with customized reports.
"A big part of what I like about the program is the tracking mechanism," Batey said. "The report tool is great for us because it allows us to develop an even more conscious awareness of what's going on and what difference we can make and ways to be able to inform educate and support our staff."