“Protecting the Earth is important as a citizen and especially as a winter athlete who competes on a surface created by nature,” says 24-year-old free-style skier and composter Hannah Kearney. She is one of a dozen Team USA Olympians profiled by the Mother Nature Network for their eco-minded lifestyles, representative of these exceptionally green-spirited 2010 Olympic Games where, as reported by MSN Sports, composting ranks high on the list of environmentally-friendly practices.
“It’s always a challenge,” says CompostMania founder Robert Olivier of protecting the “natural landscapes we play upon. “With the Olympics, for example, can the athletes and the influx of visitors leave it a better place than it was when they arrived?” It seems the host city has at least laid down the necessary infrastructure.
Not only is Vancouver one of the greenest cities in the world, but all of the Olympic complexes are LEED certified, meaning that a third party verified that they were designed using “strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.”
Whistler Village is home to a new $15 million composting plant. There’s no landfill in town so all residents are encouraged to compost, as are hotels and restaurants which receive economic incentives for composting waste. It’s to this same composting plant that Olympic Village food waste and bio-solids waste are being diverted.
Every week, Whistler’s composting plant can take in up to 35 tons of food waste and up to 90 tons of bio-solids. Two weeks later, after being churned through two 80-meter-long composting tunnels, the waste emerges as nutrient-rich compost. The city sells it to contractors or the public, or they use it for municipal projects, including the landscaping for Olympic Village.
“You just have to hope the local community is intent on composting and other green practices for the long-term,” says CompostMania co-founder Karl Warkomski. “And with all eyes on the Olympic Games, you also have to hope that other communities around the world will take a cue from Whistler Village and make similarly eco-minded choices, in terms of city composting and beyond.”
Olympics image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26349479@N07/4354788542/
Whislter Village image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/royandsusan/2336106897/