While the green bin under the kitchen sink at Assiniboine Credit Union’s West Broadway Branch may not look that interesting, the vegetable and fruit scraps inside are part of something new and exciting for branch manager, Jeffery Patteson and his team.
“A while ago I read an article in our neighbourhood newspaper about all the community gardens in the West Broadway area,” explains Jeffery. “I realized that within a ten minute walk of the branch there were eight gardens with composters. To me it just made sense to collect and compost our lunch scraps instead of throwing them into the garbage.”
He’s right. Composting makes a lot of sense. It makes sense because up to 30 percent of all garbage we generate at home and in office lunchrooms is compostable. It makes sense because composting isn’t complicated or time consuming.
It also makes sense because when food waste is buried in landfills it decomposes anaerobically producing methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent that carbon dioxide. On the other hand, home composting produces fewer greenhouse gases, reduces the demand for landfill space and, over time, turns those apple cores and banana peels into an amazing soil amendment that improves the health of gardens and lawns.
A 2012 waste audit estimated that each Assiniboine employee generates about 16 kilograms of organic waste. While that may not sound like much, it’s more than eight tonnes (or eight Volkswagen Beetles) of kitchen scraps for the entire organization!
While Assiniboine may not be quite ready to launch into an organization-wide composting program yet, it is great to see Jeffery and his team treat kitchen scraps less like garbage and more like a resource that helps local community gardeners grow healthier produce for their families.