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Posted Mar 27, 2010 in GREEN Berets | 0 Comments

The Wonderful World of Composting

When you throw out your table scraps or your peels and rinds from veggies and fruit, do you tell yourself “it is not really garbage, it will break down in the dump”? This is a common belief, but it is a fallacy. Vegetable and fruit scraps need air and sun to decompose and when they are buried under a ton of dirt and wrapped in a plastic bag it is impossible to be exposed to either. Additionally, the plastic bag makes produce scraps leak out methane, which is so much worse than carbon dioxide. An easy solution to this is: Composting!

It is so easy to do, plus it will reduce a third of your waste in the process. And if you love to garden, this gives you free fertilizer that is rid of any harmful pesticides. If you do not have a backyard do not despair for you have options too!

The way compost works is micro-bacteria break down organic waste (i.e. fruits, veggies and yard trimmings) into humus (a type of nutrient-rich soil), which allows for all the vitamins in your scraps to be recycled and reabsorbed into the earth. This has been done for centuries, but with the rise of Disposable Living and urban sprawl people composting activity has become extremely limited. For a more thorough rundown of the whole process, here is the Composting Wikipedia page.

For families or individuals who own a backyard, here are two great websites that show you how you can start up your own compost!

Composting Council of Canada

Sierra Club Green home

For people who live in high rises or rented suites (landlords can be very reluctant to allow composting, which is very frustrating), you can Vermicompost. You buy a composting box; they usually are not too expensive but before you go and buy one at Canadian Tire check with your municipal government (online or with a representative) because often they will offer them at a subsidized price. Cities are often struggling with the amount of garbage that piles into dumps and composting eliminates a major portion of waste. With Vermibins, you use worms to eat your table scraps and their excrement dissolves them into natural fertilizer. The great thing about these is that unlike regular composting, you can recycle meats, fish and oily foods. Vermibins also reduce much of the smell that is usually associated with composts.

Here is more information:

Resource Conservation

Vermi Compost Wikipedia

Yelm Worms

If neither seem like a viable option you should check around your neighbourhood to see if there is a community garden, a school or natural foods store that accepts compost. Also, phone your municipal government to see if they offer community composting, where like your garbage, you can drop it off at the street and it is picked up each week. For myself, I drop mine off at UBC where they practice composting and save a bundle on fertilizer.

What you can compost:

● Vegetable/fruit peels, rinds, cores, seeds and pits
● Coffee grinds
● Tea bags
● Breads, grains and nutshells
● Paper
● Eggshells
● Leaves, grass, small branches

Remember through composting we can eliminate one third of our waste as a country and possible more.

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