You are all Part of my Compost Heap

Monday, May 14, 2012

"We are all part of the same compost heap."
Let’s face it; Tyler Durden knew his shit- or compost rather.

The importance of composting lies at the root of waste diversion (ah ha ha - root, compost = I’m hilarious). We are able to recycle the basics - paper, metal, glass and plastics but the bulk of what is left in most people’s trash is compostable items. I know this because I had the pleasure of sorting through dumpsters and residence rooms after students moved out at the end of April.

The main components of student’s (and in all probability the average person’s) trash was compostable (in the form of rotting foods, yum). This surprised me as the campus has a great composting system in place; a campus vermi-composter located near the portables and an off campus mechanical composter, named Oscar, at 200 Lees. This combination of systems allows for 200 tonnes of composting a year. For students in apartment style residences, it is as simple as contacting your residence program coordinator for a bin and emptying it when needed in the same area as you do recyclables and waste. For conventional residences, if you do not have a Green Rep, then you can opt to become one here which would make you responsible for emptying the bin on your floor’s kitchen to the recycling area. To learn more about what can be composted click here.

Some interesting campus composting facts:
  • the utensils in the cafeteria are compostable, they have the brand name “Polar” and can be placed in the food area composting bins 
  • most containers given out in the cafeteria are compostable, 28 are thrown out per hour in the cafeteria on average 
  • brown paper towels (when wet) are compostable, most washrooms on campus have specific bins for their disposal 
  • coffee cups on campus are compostable (their plastic lids are recyclable in the all plastics program) 

For those off-campus readers, the City of Ottawa’s green bins are collected every week. If you are new to composting or need to replace a stolen bin, look here. If you live in a multi-unit or apartment building, it may be as easy as contacting your landlord and requesting a system be put in place. You can offer to take responsibility for the disposal of your own kitchen bin and larger green bin to the curb each week and even connect with neighbours to get involved.

Finally, remember to keep your bins clean! Rinse after each disposal to prevent ants from infiltrating your kitchen. Cleaning bins is a lot easier when using compost bin liners which you can apparently buy- but we suggest making them yourself from old newspapers. See how here. Also, for any further information on campus composting check out our office’s website.

Happy Composting!

~ merissa | campus sustainability coordinator
photo credit | merissa

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