At its meeting on February 12, 2024, Council withdrew support for the On-Island Composting Facility due to escalating costs and the need to prioritize other major capital projects. Read the staff report and presentation from the meeting.

The project in 2023

Council adopted a resolution on January 23, 2023, approving the expenditure of $5000 for consultation with Green Mountain Technologies to further investigate the Earth Flow system’s suitability for the On-Island Compost Facility.

The annual volume of green waste produced by the Island is about to exceed the annual capacity of the original Hot Rot compost system planned for the facility. The grant funding for the original plan can be used for the alternative system.

Green Mountain Technologies Earth Flow Site Built System
Green Mountain Technologies Earth Flow Site Built System

230123 Staff report to Council
230123 Staff presentation to Council

The project in 2021

On December 10, 2021, a news release was issued An on-island composting facility is coming to Bowen Island.

A composting facility was considered to process Bowen Island’s organic waste. The facility would have been built at the Bowen Island Recycling Depot (BIRD) site and help to achieve the following goals:

  1. Reduce costs currently spent on transporting our food and yard waste to the mainland.
  2. Reduce our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
  3. Close the organic waste management loop.
  4. Increase food security.   

The Hot Rot© in-vessel composting system made by Global Composting Solutions was initially considered for the management of Bowen Island’s green waste, because it has a relatively small physical footprint and an odour control guarantee; produces no leachate and minimal condensate; and is of suitable capacity for Bowen’s green waste volumes. There are currently over 20 installations operating around the world (3 in Canada), many with similar conditions to Bowen Island.

Find more information about the Hot Rot system here.

The estimated capital cost for the recommended facility was $1,086,500. In a cost benefit analysis reflecting 2019 waste volumes and 2020 transportation costs and tipping fees, a cost of $13,000 per year was calculated for the on-island composting facility. A similar increase in green waste volume as 2019 (to 625 tonnes) would likely result in the facility breaking even. If grant funding is obtained, or tipping fees are increased as expected, the facility would bring in a profit.

 Cost/Savings/Revenue ($/tonne)Expected Volume (tonnes)Total
Capital Cost  $1,086,500
Operational Costs (including payback over 25 years @ 5%)288700$201,600
Revenue from Compost Sales20700$14,000
     Tipping Fees100582$58,200
Net Annual Cost of OICF  $13,000

A feasibility study completed by Timmenga and Associates Inc. reviewed past studies and included modeled cost benefit analyses for current and predicted future volumes, as well as a worst-case scenario. Several technologies were reviewed, as well as potential sites for the operations, feedstock quality and quantity and regulatory requirements. A greenhouse gas analysis and basic site design were also completed.

A survey conducted in the fall of 2019 had 300 respondents and provided valuable insights into the most important issues for the community. This survey, along with a less formal survey of local landscapers, tree services, haulers and sand and gravel operators helped determine the potential for additional yard waste and the potential market for finished compost.


The possibility of an on-island composting facility began as a community-driven initiative and has been investigated by the Municipality through former committees.

The Knick Knack Nook commissioned two reports:

In 2015, Council struck the On-Island Composting Facility Working Group (OICFWG) to provide a report and recommendations regarding proceeding with a facility.

Completing a feasibility study was identified by the OICFWG as part of the next phase in a five-phased work plan. The feasibility study was also identified in the 2017 & 2019 Island Plans as a priority, and in the 2017 Bowen Island Community Energy and Emissions Plan as a key action to be completed in 2018.

However, at the time, relatively low tipping fees and green waste volumes meant business as usual was affordable and it was uncertain whether an on-island composting facility was economically viable. No further work was undertaken in 2017 and 2018. It has now become evident that since 2016, tipping fees have increased by more than 40% and green waste volumes have increased by over 30%. In 2018, Harvest Power in Richmond, BC was closed and as a result Bowen Island’s green waste is hauled to Pemberton, representing a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.