Hopefully, the efforts of a local student looking to establish a more environmentally-friendly way of dealing with organic waste in the Town of Port Hawkesbury will be successful.

Chad Kelly, a second-year Natural Resources and Environmental Technologies student at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Strait Area Campus has been working on an applied research project since January to help establish curbside green bin collection within the town.

Kelly said he noticed during his first year at the local campus that there was no curbside composting in the town, even though his home town of Truro has been doing the practice for two decades and “90 per cent of Nova Scotia already has curbside composting.”

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Like many students and residents, Kelly was forced to throw his organic waste into the trash, which he said creates greenhouse gas at landfill sites.

As part of his project, Kelly has been researching waste collection procedures in other municipalities such as Truro and Mulgrave, and compared their relative costs. He has been working with Kara MacEachern, waste management coordinator and educator for the town, as well as Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton and Jeff Dee of Eastern Sanitation Limited to discuss a collection plan.

Kelly also pointed out that the non-profit group DivertNS funds the waste diversion efforts of smaller towns and municipalities.

“The more waste you divert, the more money comes back into your municipality, which helps lower the costs,” Kelly noted.

Another part of the project has been raising awareness. Kelly has travelled door-to-door surveying Port Hawkesbury residents about the potential project, and hosted a public information session at the NSCC’s Green Day event last month.

Kelly said the public response has been “amazing,” noting that 93 per cent of those surveyed supported the idea.

“… For over 93 per cent of the public that I was able to survey the main question was why isn’t this here yet?” said Kelly.

Kelly said curbside pickup is the easiest, most environmentally friendly way of dealing with organic waste. In addition, composting has economic benefits, like providing a cheaper alternative to commercial fertilizer for local businesses such as landscaping companies.

Combined with Enviro Depots and curbside collection, up to 75 per cent of household waste can be diverted which reduces the community’s carbon footprint, the NSCC student said.

Kelly presented his research to Port Hawkesbury Town Council and said he already has the backing of several councillors and hopes the town will agree to commit to having curbside pickup in place by the end of 2019.

Hopefully the momentum for this great idea will continue, and by next year, residents of the town will have the ability to compost right at the side of the road.

Armed with strong local support from residents, town representatives, as well as elected officials, it appears Kelly can be successful in bringing something to the town that is badly needed, wanted, and which will make Port Hawkesbury a better place to live.