With the onset of spring, I know that many of you are excited for two great events: the NHL hockey playoffs and, of course, the start of the composting season. As I am a Maple Leafs fan…well, let’s just say I’ve had quite a bit of time to work on my composting expertise these past many years.
The humble act of composting has huge benefits for those who manage waste systems, grow gardens or simply want to live in a more sustainable community. One third of the average bag of household waste could be composted, reducing costly waste removal and burial in the Windermere landfill.
Burying compostable organic waste in a low-oxygen environment (anerobic) causes the release of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes thirty times more negative impact than carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. Composting this waste properly with oxygen presents a great opportunity to simultaneously reduce climate change impacts and produce a useful soil-enhancing product.
We know there are many of you who backyard compost — fantastic, keep it up! For others, sometimes limited space, time, physical limitations or a lack of knowledge and confidence prevent them from composting. Fear not; there is help available.
At Groundswell, we compost all year using vermi-culture systems (red wiggler worms) that produces castings, an organic, microbe-rich material that greatly increases soil health and plant growth. We also practice larger scale outdoor composting and, now that spring is finally here, we’ll be returning to these techniques through the Groundswell Community Composting Services program.
Through Groundswell’s Community Composting Services you can engage in composting in many ways including:
• Learn How to Compost. From April to September, monthly how-to courses on composting at the Community Greenhouse will be offered.
• Compost Sales. Purchase finished worm castings or a worm bin you can try at home.
• Bring in the Ground Force! Hire a Groundswell Youth Intern, someone who can help you get your composting system working and help with the early workload during your garden start up.
• For the business owner producing larger volumes of organic waste, Groundswell Community Composting Services can save you money and promote to your clientele your businesses’ commitment to sustainability. Restaurants, resorts, grocery stores and other large organic waste producers can especially benefit from participating in this composting program.
Rocky River Bar and Grill cut its waste-hauling bill by 35 per cent through composting last year. For eight weeks, GNS Community Composting Services picked up separated organic waste from the restaurant and processed it into finished compost.
“I saved money and made my business more environmentally responsible, something more and more clients appreciate,” says owner Justin Atterbury.
For information and to enroll your business in the weekly pick up by the GNS Community Composting Services, call 250-342-3337. Contact Groundswell online at www.groundswellnetwork.ca to register for composting courses or to bring in the GroundForce. Worm castings and worm bins can be purchased at the Community Greenhouse.
Meanwhile, be sure to get outside during the hockey intermissions and turn your compost piles!
Bill Swan is the Executive Director at Groundswell Network Society and also operates Greenman Sustainable Solutions specializing in renewable energy.