May is composting’s time to shine! Nature’s ultimate 3Rs (reuse, recycle and renew) is so highly regarded that it has its own weeklong celebration. International Compost Awareness Week happens in early May every year.
How will you celebrate?
Personally, I’ll be mixing a winter’s worth of vegetable scraps with leaves gathered last fall as I get started on another season of helping Mother Nature make more ‘black gold’ for my gardens and yard.
As a year round composter, spring is when my finely aged and finished compost is spread across garden beds and around the fruit trees. The bin full of vegetable scraps accumulated over the winter is turned and left to slowly breakdown into dark, rich humus that I’ll deal with in several months.
If you’re new to composting, perhaps your plans include learning how to compost and getting a composter set up in your backyard or an apartment balcony. If so, you will definitely want to take advantage of Green Action Centre workshops and Master Composter program.
The beauty of composting is that it can be as simple or as involved as you want to make it. Build a large composting system or make a pile in a corner of your backyard. Both approaches, with the right mix of vegetable and yard waste (and time) will produce wonderful compost. Catch the composting spirit by watching this great video sponsored by Assiniboine Credit Union.
Composting is awesome!
The Compost Council of Canada offers these ten reasons to love compost including:
- It sends less to the landfill — Over one third of all waste entering landfills can be composted. Less waste means less need to expand unsightly dumps, fewer garbage trucks driving our streets and burning fossil fuels.
- It reduces greenhouse gas emissions — 38% percent of Canada’s total methane emissions (a potent greenhouse gas) come from landfills. Composting can reduce those emissions.
- It helps recover a valuable resource — Compost is a phenomenal soil amendment reducing our reliance on artificial fertilizers.
- It decreases soil erosion — Compost improves soil structure and stops it from washing or being blown away.
- It increases soil health — Compost builds a bio-diverse soil and supports healthy plant growth by making nutrients and minerals more accessible to plants.
- It reduces watering — Compost helps soil retain water. Compost more, water less.
- It reduces pesticide use — Compost supports healthier soils and plants which equals better pest and disease resistance.
- It saves money — Because the raw ingredients for compost would otherwise be thrown away it is a low cost (and renewable) alternative to soil amendments like peat moss.
- It supports healthy plant growth — By providing essential organic matter to soil, compost is a valuable building block to healthy plants.
- It makes a real environmental difference — Composting is a simple step anyone can take to reducing waste and building better growing environments for flowers and vegetables.
Assiniboine supports composting
While we haven’t started composting in all our lunchrooms, you can read about how the team at our West Broadway Branch caught the composting bug.
Through our biennial waste audits we do know that composting does represent an opportunity to reduce our total waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The results from the 2012 audit indicate that ACU produced over four tonnes of waste that could be composted.