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Solarcones composters arrive in Maple Ridge

Leanne Koehn of the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society with a Solarcone composter. When installed

The Solarcones are in Maple Ridge. No, it’s not an alien invasion but the arrival of a unique composter that chews up kitchen waste using the heat of the sun, while producing minimal waste or requirements for emptying. The district is subsidizing the cost of the cones to residents in an attempt to reduce the amount of garbage going to the landfill. As of next year, kitchen scraps can’t go into regular garbage. While online prices can reach more than $150, the subsidized cost for a Solarcone will be $56.25. Unlike a conventional composter, a Solarcone food digester is installed over a hole in the ground, a metre deep by a metre in diameter. The food waste is then dropped into a basket through a door. The double-walled cone creates a heat trap of circulating air to encourage bacteria growth, while the soil filters out smells and keeps away flies. The one catch is that each time a basket of food is added, so too is an accelerant to speed up the digestion protest. Meat, dairy and egg products can all be dumped in. Most of the organic material turns into liquid and drains into the soil. According to Solarcone’s website, the cone can process five kilograms of food a week, more than that usually produced by a household. It would take about five years before a residue layer of 25 centimetres would have to be dug out. Solarcones can be pre-ordered by phoning the Recycling Depot at 604-463-5545, visiting the depot in person, or filling out an application form at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Maple Ridge residents can pick up their pre-ordered, pre-paid Solarcones between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 16 at the Recycling Depot – off River Road at 236th Street in the Albion Industrial Park .