By Jean Wightman
According to a Living Planet report, humans use natural resources faster than the planet can keep up and Canadians have the seventh largest ecological footprint in the world.
While you and I may not be able to change everyone else’s consumption habits, we can examine and find ways in which to improve our individual purchasing and disposal habits.
Fellow Go Green columnist Carol Vignale outlined several “green” resolutions in December.
In this column I expand on her third suggestion—composting—a way in which waste can be put to work.
When Delta first made available its now familiar black composters, I started collecting and dumping my kitchen organic waste into this bin, occasionally with grass clippings. Being clueless, I ended up with a slurry and an unusable mess. I didn’t know then that composting, though not hard, does require some attention.
Motto: never give up!
I again started saving kitchen fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and tea bags in a small container. The odour became unpleasant during the hot summer months, so I asked for and received for Christmas that year a green under the sink composting bucket, with a secure lid and a replaceable carbon filter.
What a difference this container made. Already having two outside wooden bins also helped. After removal of soil that had accumulated from yard waste, which went into the garden, I placed in the outside bins all vegetable and fruit trimmings, egg shells, wet paper towels and coffee filters.
It’s important, by the way, to chop organics into small pieces, to have available soil or leaves with which to alternate layers (no blighted plants), to not include animal products, and to aerate and to check for adequate moisture, especially during hot months.
I was delighted when I first saw worms wiggling through the pile and when I spread my compost on the vegetable patch. It is exciting to see food waste turned into a usable product and be diverted from the landfill. That’s what recycling is all about.
Many people will not compost because they fear attracting rats, but if a compost pile is cared for and no bird seed is nearby, all should bode well. Out of many resources available on this topic, a particularly enjoyable one is Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator, by Spring Gillard, whom I had the pleasure of recently hearing at the Earthwise Garden.
I conclude with a reminder from her book:
“When you add green, make sure you add brown.
When you add food waste, cover it well.
That way your bin will never smell.”
Have fun putting your waste to work.
Jean Wightman is a long-time Tsawwassen resident who enjoys walking, reading, recycling and volunteering in her community.