The Town of Banff is saving money and helping the environment by turning its organic waste into fertilizer.

The community’s recycled kitchen scraps are collected and combined with treated sewage sludge and cement dust, and fed into a high-tech machine that heats and mixes it up. A few minutes later, certified fertilizer comes out called Banff N-Rich.

“All of these products were previously landfilled, and what we do is blend them together and create a beneficial reused product that is returned to the earth,” said Banff's operations manager Paul Godfrey.

After one year, the project is already saving the town thousands of dollars. The plan now is to expand the operation beyond Banff.


The finished product comes out of the machine, ready to be used as fertilizer. (Carla Beynon/CBC)

“We're looking to enhance the Banff N-Rich by bringing in some of Canmore's bio-solids, and blending them with our own.”

N-Viro, the company that runs the plant in Banff, is hoping to stir up enough interest in the process to get other communities on board and get a larger plant built near Didsbury.

“It's the right thing to do to recover nutrients from the organic waste stream. That's what we do, and we're hoping other municipalities in the province of Alberta will recognize that,” said Rob Sampson, president of N-Viro — the company that runs the Banff plant. 

Eagle Lake Professional Landscape Supply in Calgary buys the unique end-product. Owner Eric Heuver is trying to figure out where it fits in the market. 

 “Where we see the niche is on ag. There is farm land that is lower in PH that needs to be adjusted and also in the reclamation end of the things for the acid for soils,” he said.