Central Manitoulin launches FoodCycler pilot program

CENTRAL MANITOULIN—The municipality of Central Manitoulin is excited to launch an innovative pilot program that will offer residents the opportunity to test out FoodCycler composting machines in their own home.

“FoodCyler machines are a counter-top, on-site composting solution that helps divert organic waste from the landfill. Similar in size and shape to a breadmaker, the units produce a no-odour product and can be used year-round. They provide an alternative for those reluctant to use traditional backyard composters for fear of attracting pests, bears or because of the maintenance involved,” a release explains.

“On average, 50 percent of household waste is composed of food waste. Methane is produced when organic materials decompose in ‘no-air’ environments, which is a major contributor to green house gas emissions. The machines dry and grind foot waste into an odourless nutrient-dense by-product that can be used as fertilizer, added to a garden, lawn, or existing composting system. Because the FoodCylcer pulverizes and aerates the organic matter as it breaks down, those harmful methane gases are not released at all.”

The FoodCycler has built-in sensor technology that monitors the dryness and humidity of the waste. Once complete, the unit will stop the cycle automatically. A typical cycle takes between 4-8 hours for the food waste to become completely dehydrated and processed. This time depends on the amount of food waste being processed, the density of the food wastes and the moisture levels contained in each.

“We all need to find solutions to reduce our environmental impact, which includes reducing the volume of compostable waste presently being added to our landfill,” said Councillor Dale Scott. “Across Northern Ontario small, rural municipalities are having to pivot and adopt innovative waste management strategies as the capacity of local sites dwindles. The FoodCycler pilot project is an excellent program to help address this challenge and I would encourage residents to take advantage of this positive municipal initiative.”

“Through engagement activities as part of the municipality’s community energy and emissions planning process, residents made it clear that composting is important to them,” a press release from the municipality to households there continues. “The FoodCycler pilot program is just one of several waste diversion methods that the municipality will be exploring in the future. Participating in the project will help the municipality to gather data that will support funding applications and help them inform the overall waste management planning process.”

The municipality is partnering with Ottawa based company Food Cycle Science Corporation and Impact Canada to make 50 units available at a discounted rate to residents of Central Manitoulin during a 12- week pilot project. Residents who sign up to participate will receive a subsidized unit and will track their usage over the 12-week pilot. Each unit typically sells for approximately $500, but through this pilot program, residents will only need to pay $150 plus HST to obtain their unit.

“Registration opens Monday, April 4, 2022 at 10 am and closes April 20, at 2 pm, or while supplies last.  Registration can be completed online at www.centralmanitoulin.ca or by calling the municipal office at 705-377-5726. Priority will be given to residents of Central Manitoulin. However, if any units remain after the registration period, residents across the Island may sign up to participate.”

Between May 3-5, participants will be able to pick up and pay for their units at the municipal office in Mindemoya. Shortly after successfully registering, participants will receive an email with confirmation and all relevant details regarding pick-up and participation.

Participants can track their usage from May 9 to August 1 (12 weeks). Participants will track the number of cycles during a 12-week period and record any feedback they have on the machines. Technical support is available from the Food Cycle Science. The municipal coordinator, Patricia Mader, is also available to answer questions during this time. Upon conclusion of the 12-week pilot, participants will be asked to fill out a brief exit survey and submit their usage.