30 Under 30: Katie Forsyth and Claire McLoughlin started Kamloops’ first and only residential and commercial composting service

Katie Forsyth and Claire McLoughlin realized that their city lacked a program for diverting food scraps and other organic waste from the landfill.

Credit: Natalie Sky Photography

McLoughlin (left) and Forsyth also run a food delivery service with local producers

Katie Forsyth + Claire McLoughlin, 28 + 26

Co-founders + co-owners, Friendly Composting

Life Story: Becoming roommates in Kamloops soon after meeting through recreational volleyball, Katie Forsyth and Claire McLoughlin realized that their adoptive city lacked a program for diverting food scraps and other organic waste from the landfill. So Ladner-raised Forsyth and Campbell River native McLoughlin decided to start one out of their apartment, each putting down $500 to buy their first recycled compost bins.

The pair launched Friendly Composting just as B.C. went into COVID lockdown, but their timing was right: with homebound Kamloopsians cooking more than usual, the business grew quickly. “We built pretty much our whole program off our social media channels and word of mouth,” says Forsyth, who’s earning a bachelor of general studies in education from SFU and previously did education and advocacy work for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Now completing a master’s in environmental economics and management at Thompson Rivers University, McLoughlin spent a couple of years as an associate with an investment firm.

Friendly Composting, which offers subscriptions online, visits residential and commercial customers once a week to swap full bins for clean ones. “These people are paying to have their organics taken away because they care,” Forsyth says. To turn food scraps into soil, the company works with two farms, in Kamloops and Salmon Arm. Last summer, it added a delivery service offering bread, eggs, vegetables and meat from local producers.

Bottom Line: As of early June, Friendly Composting served 615 homes and 16 businesses, hauling away 3,000 kilograms of organics each week. The business also had 24 food delivery partners it promotes on social media. “We’re telling their stories firsthand,” Forsyth says.

She and McLoughlin, who employ one full-time staff member, will have about a dozen part-time workers this summer. “If we can scale this up,” Forsyth reckons, “we’re hoping to implement it in rural communities or small towns or cities that don’t have municipal programs.”