Compost From New Plant-based Containers to be Returned to NAC Herb Gardens
The National Arts Centre (NAC) and the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, today unveiled an innovative program that will introduce plant-based food and drink containers and transform them into rich compost to be put into herb gardens at the NAC. The move will divert 500,000 containers from the landfill annually.
The containers to be composted beginning this Summer, include wine and beer glasses, coffee cups, plates, utensils, straws, and take-out boxes. The containers are used at the NAC restaurant and banquet operations, intermission bars, as well as in the employee cafeteria. Thanks to a process developed with the help of public and private partners, the NAC will put the compost created back into its rooftop herb garden. The garden – which also features two new beehives – will provide fresh ingredients to the NAC’s culinary team, led by Executive Chef Kenton Leier.
The new compost program was developed by the NAC’s Food and Beverage Department in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, The Compost Council of Canada, Tomlinson Organics, and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ).
“Canada is moving toward zero plastic waste to get rid of unnecessary single-use plastics from government operations, and is working with provinces and territories on a national strategy to cut plastic pollution,” said Minister McKenna. “The National Arts Centre is an example of how we can all be part of the solution – with institutions, governments, businesses, municipalities and Canadians across the country.”
The NAC spent the last year selecting and, with the help of its partners, testing plant-based food containers, which have been certified for compostability according to standards set by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) to reflect both the composting process and the compost produced. In order to be certified compostable, a product must disintegrate by at least 90 percent within 84 days of the composting process. The NAC worked with The Compost Council of Canada and their waste management team, Tomlinson Organics, to test these products. The NAC is also developing containers to facilitate the proper collection of compostable dishes, as well as signage to educate patrons about choosing the right bin for the right recycling purpose. Certified compostable products will go in a bin for organics to be collected and processed at Tomlinson Organics.