The Rural Municipality of Ritchot is launching a pilot project for composting.

In February, Council heard from a representative from Food Cycle Science regarding one of its products called the FoodCycler. Brigitte Kirady informed Council that 63 per cent of food waste is avoidable. She notes this waste is resulting in our landfills filling up more quickly. Not only that, but it is also producing methane gas in landfills.

Kirady invited Ritchot to take part in a pilot project that is being offered to municipalities. The FoodCycler is an indoor composter about the size of a bread maker. Kirady says table scraps or other compostable materials are placed in the composter and then four to eight hours later, you have compost. 

Food Cycle Science runs a 12-week pilot program. Kirady says residents will purchase the FoodCycler unit at a subsidized rate. There are two different sizes of the FoodCycler; a 2.5 litre and a 5.0 litre unit. Over the course of 12 weeks, residents will track the number of times they run the unit. At the end of 12 weeks, they fill out a brief survey and are then able to keep the FoodCycler.

The retail price of a 2.5 litre FoodCycler is $500, while the 5.0 litre costs $800. However, Kirady says they will make these units available for a fraction of that cost, thanks to both a municipal discount and an investment by Impact Canada.

Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen says Council has agreed to invest $10,000 in order to have 100 of these FoodCycler units. After all of the discounts, a 2.5 litre unit costs a ratepayer $150, while the 5.0 unit is $300.

"It's a minimal fee for the ratepayer that applies for the product," says Ewen.

According to Ewen, the 100 residents who buy into this program will set the tone to determine whether the municipality will continue this on a larger scale. He adds they would like to roll out the program in April. 

"I think Council as a whole has always wanted to be a little bit more green and take advantage of opportunities that are out there; be it electric vehicle charging stations, compost programs, etc.," explains Ewen. "So, if we can tap into creative ways to be a little bit more eco-friendly, that's Council's mission."

Not only that, but Ewen says in early March they held their Council meeting at Gabrielle Roy school in Ile des Chenes. He notes a student delegation suggested Council improve composting efforts in the municipality.

"Here's what we want to do to show students that this is how we are going to be proactive with composting," adds Ewen. "And we're going to take advantage of this opportunity with them."

Food Cycle Science has been running this municipal pilot program for about three years.