Composting Pilot Project

The RDEK has launched a pilot composting project in the Columbia Valley and Elk Valley. 

The project is aimed at household kitchen waste and runs now through the end of October.  The program accepts nearly all kitchen scraps. While many residents in the East Kootenay already compost fruits and vegetables on a small scale, there are food scraps, such as meats, cheeses, paper plates, and paper towels that are not appropriate for backyard composting due to the potential for attracting wildlife and pests.  These are all accepted in the pilot program.

Who can participate?

Residents of East Kootenay are welcome to participate in the compost pilot program by voluntarily dropping off accepted organic materials in the marked bins at Regional District of East Kootenay Transfer Stations in Fernie and Sparwood, and at the Columbia Valley Subregion Landfill.

What is allowed in the compost?

All kitchen scraps (including meats, cheese and cooking oils) are accepted in the compost. Paper plates, tissues and paper towels are also allowed.


  • Food waste and food contaminated paper including:
  • Meat and small bones
  • Bread and grain products
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Dairy products
  • Egg shells
  • Baked goods
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Pasta products
  • Nutshells
  • Fats, oils, butter, and mayonnaise
  • Food contaminated napkins, paper towels, paper plates and tissues
  • Wooden popsicle sticks and toothpicks

NOT Accepted:

  • Yard  trimmings  including  grass  clippings,  tree and hedge prunings, leaves, plants, weeds and flowers
  • Plastics  of  any  kind  (including compostable and biodegradable plastics)
  • Glass
  • Pet waste/kitty litter
  • Disposable coffee cups
  • Styrofoam
  • Wax coated crayons
  • Diapers and baby wipes
  • Wire, twist ties, and rubber bands
  • Rocks dirt and sod
  • Stumps and logs
  • Wax paper and aluminum foil
  • Cigarette butts
  • Vacuum contents and bags

Can I use plastic bags to line my kitchen pail?

Plastic bags, including compostable and biodegradable plastic are not accepted in compost drop-off bins. Newsprint is recommended to line the bottom of your personal collection bin.

What about wildlife?

Drop-off bins and processing piles will be located within the fenced and staffed areas of the transfer stations. The waste is no more of an attractant than standard household garbage. Local municipal bylaws and waste management protocols apply. Ensure your personal collection bin is stored in a secure location.

Where can I bring my yard waste?

There are dedicated areas at the Fernie and Sparwood Transfer Stations and Columbia Valley Landfill for yard and garden waste.  There is no charge. Please continue to use this dedicated bin for yard waste. The marked compost bins are for household kitchen scraps only.

Next Steps

The public drop-off period ends on October 31, 2016. The next step in the project will be to conduct quality testing on the compost through the winter and early spring. The results of the pilot project will be reported to the RDEK Board in 2017.

In addition to the public drop-off program, the RDEK is also engaging with a number of commercial businesses to pilot dedicated collection for larger waste producers. Organics collected through the public drop off bins and the commercial program are being combined and processed together using a low-tech, but highly efficient method to process the organic materials, using carefully monitored windrows.

For more information on the pilot program, contact Kevin Paterson at or by phone at 250-489-2791 or 1-888-478-7335 (BC / AB).

Last edited: Thu, September 29, 2016 - 1:13:26