At least 100 Algonquin Highlands households will get to purchase an indoor tabletop composter as part of a unique partnership between the township and distributors of the product.

At its May 20 meeting, council voted to become an ‘implementation partner’ in the FoodCycler Impact Canada-funded project, which includes $10,000 to the township for distribution and evaluation of the 100 units.

Environmental coordinator Melissa Murray said it is at the sole discretion of the township as to how the $10,000 is distributed, for example, $100 per unit for 100 units or as council sees fit.

She said Algonquin Highlands is required to contribute $2,000 to cover shipping costs of the units since there will be a bulk purchase at a cost of $19,210, of which $17,210 would be recovered in unit sales.

She said cost per unit would average $172.10 (including taxes). However, she said that could vary should council wish to consider alternative distribution of the funding.

“The township would benefit from the opportunity to trial a waste diversion solution at low cost to participants, with support from FoodCycler to conduct program evaluation and potential for further funding for expansion if the program proves to be successful,” Murray said.

Algonquin Highlands will be required, with support from FoodCycler, to collect feedback from residents through a survey at the end of a 12-week trial period. Survey results, but no personally identifiable information, will be shared with FoodCycler and Impact Canada.

“With the estimated diversion of approximately 90 cubic metres (118 cubic yards) of solid waste per year through the use of 100 FoodCycler units in the community, based on current tipping fee of $30/cubic yard (actual landfilling costs are significantly greater), there could be an equivalent savings to the township of $3,540 per year, Murray added.

Details, including who will get units to ensure a level playing field, have yet to be released but are expected in time for council’s June meeting. Mayor Carol Moffatt said it was an “exciting opportunity.”

Coun. Jennifer Dailloux also praised the initiative.

“This just fits so squarely in what I would love to see Algonquin Highlands be, which is at the forefront of the sorts of changes that we want to be a part of and what we want to see happening throughout our world and in our community,” she said.

Dailloux welcomed being part of a data collection partnership to aid in the development of sustainable technology.

“Data is king when it comes to change and to be a part of that in an official capacity is great,” Dailloux said.

Moffatt said logistics are the next step. She said there “has to be a really clean way to figure out who those 100 are.” She added there will likely be a demand for more than 100 units.

If the FoodCyler program expands, Murray said Algonquin Highlands would have a first right of refusal for continued buy-in.

Moffatt said, “It is exciting to step out in the front and bring something innovative to the community,”

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