Banff looks to cash in on organic waste

An Alberta mountain town located west of Calgary is looking to turn its organic waste into a product it can sell.

Mountain town plans to mix its organic waste with cement plant dust to create fertilizer

Turning trash into treasure

9 years ago
CBC's Carla Beynon reports on how the mountain town of Banff hopes to profit from its waste. 1:58

Banff is looking to turn its organic waste into a product it can sell.

The picturesque mountain town has been turning its food scraps and water treatment plant waste into compost for the last 15 years, but it wasn't being used.

Banff, which is located west of Calgary, now plans to mix it with dust from Exshaw's cement and lime plants, which used to be sent to the landfill, to create fertilizer that can be sold. The system was developed by an Ontario company called N-Viro Systems.

"We take any organic waste, whether it comes out of a wastewater treatment plant or comes off a kitchen table, and we blend it with an alkaline material that comes out of, in this particular case, the cement industry," said Rob Sampson with N-Viro Systems. 

"When we mix the two it creates a fertilizer product."

The fertilizer can then be used for farms and gardens. Banff will produce about 5,000 tonnes a year, all of which has already been pre-sold to a landscaper.

The town is paying $1.6 million to retrofit its 15-year-old composting plant. Once that's paid off, the town expects to start turning a profit.

"We can't think of a greener product where we're taking what is deemed to be waste product, blending them together and having a viable reused product," said the town's operation manager Paul Godfrey.

The plant should be up and running by the end of January.