NO! We don’t compost here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

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“So, do you compost?” I asked as I was visiting my future apartment building in Gatineau. “LOL. Can you imagine how much trouble that would give me? And the complaints about the smell? No. We don’t compost here.” Said the facility’s manager minutes before I signed a one-year lease with him.

Great. Now I’m going to have to either carry my compost all the way back to campus for a 45 minute walk every morning OR walk the streets at night in my shady neighborhood looking for a compost bin to take my kitchen leftovers.

Did you know that 80% of your waste is either recyclable or compostable? My family of 4 sends 1 single half-filled garbage bag to the curb every week along with 2 bins of recyclables and a big green bin of compost.

It bothers me tremendously that cities have yet to figure out a way to normalize and facilitate composting practices in multi-level buildings. Let’s face it. Building owners might never make the effort until given an incentive by the city or their tenants. Something must be done!

Thanks to a student initiative, people living in all 5 of the uOttawa residences can compost if they wish to do so. All they have to do is to grab a bin from the Office of Campus Sustainability, fill it up, and bring its content down to the main drop off when necessary. In spite of this service being available, only 125 students have chosen to compost this semester thus far. What’s the big deal?

The Canada World Youth participants coming to volunteer at the Office will be looking into this issue. They will have the mission to tackle the challenges of composting in multi-level residential buildings in hopes to provide recommendations for the City of Ottawa’s Green Bin Program. We are hoping their findings will have a significant impact on the Capital’s compost management approach.

I can’t wait for them to get here!

-Marie-Pier Demers

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