Composting may reduce urban waste by 30%

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by William Langenberg

The Ontario Government wants us to put out less garbage at the curb-side. Actually, we need to reduce our weekly garbage by 70% by 2025. The councillors of the Municipality of North Grenville got into action and held an information session earlier this year, and informed the attending public to compost more and eliminate organics from the garbage we’re putting out on the street. Composting Sessions were held at the Municipal Centre, and those who attended these sessions received a composter.

I facilitated two of those composting sessions and informed the attendees not to add the following kitchen organics to the outdoor aerobic composter: meat, meat bones, fish, left-over meals, bread, and dairy products, because they attract rodents.

Early in October, in consultation with my wife, I decided to compost our organic kitchen waste, which includes the above-mentioned organics, anaerobically in a sealed plastic container in our kitchen. This indoor composting is a fermentation process, whereby air is excluded.

Today, we look after two different composting processes, the outdoor composter, which is turned every three days to bring air into the compost, and the indoor composter, which has its air excluded, in order for the organic material to ferment.

Operation of Indoor Composters.

I purchased two commercially-built plastic indoor composting containers, but it is not too difficult to build your own. The size of each container is 3.8 litres, or 1 gallon. Although it is more convenient to throw organic kitchen waste into the garbage bag, we took the effort to use our indoor composters. All organic kitchen waste was cut up in little pieces before being added to the indoor container. The material was pressed down with a plastic plate to exclude air and then sprinkled with a compost accelerator. It took us four weeks to fill the first container. Once it was full, we left it sealed for another four weeks. During this time, the second container was filled.

By the time the second container was full, the organic material in the first container had gone through an 8-week fermentation process. We emptied the first container and added the material to our outdoor composter, in order to allow the material to compost the normal way. My wife did not like the smell when I opened the first container, because it had that specific acidic smell, similar to corn silage.

The liquid from indoor composters is drained off every three days and discarded, because of its salt levels.

Garbage Reduction of 30%

Before we started this indoor-outdoor composting process, we put out three garbage bags at the curb-side every two weeks. Now, with the two composting systems in operation, we put out 1 bag per week. We reduced our weekly waste pick-up by 30 percent.

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