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Thread: Become a Master Composter Recycler

  1. #1

    Default Become a Master Composter Recycler

    The City of Edmonton is recruiting Edmontonians to become Master Composter Recyclers.
    They volunteers are community leaders in waste reduction.
    • Complete a FREE 40-hour training course.
    • Learn about composting, recycling, waste reduction, and more.
    • Take a FREE tour of the Edmonton Waste Management Centre.
    • Meet other green-minded Edmontonians.
    • Volunteer at least 35 hours.
    • Show friends and neighbours how to reduce waste.

    Apply online. Visit edmonton.ca/mcrp.

  2. #2
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    I took this program a few years ago - it's great! I was a compost geek before the program, but I still learned a lot, and all the other stuff about recycling and waste management was fascinating. Also the volunteering component has been really fun and rewarding.

  3. #3

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    Composting encourages mice. Just say no.

  4. #4

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    ^Oh FFS, why don't you rent a clown car and maybe go to the course and learn something. Cheezus Cripes.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  5. #5

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    I have to comment on this topic. of how much things change through the years.

    My father, RIP, was an urban "Master composter" before I guess it came in vogue as a good idea here. He was a European immigrant and composted for the large family garden plot on his residential property like people did in the "Old country" so as not to waste anything. In sorting through estate documents and his records that he kept fastidiously I couldn't help but notice with disdain the several warnings, fines, and investigations of his ordinary compost pile that he kept in the backyard.(timeframe 1970'-80s) It brought memories of his rants about a mindless civic administration that would pester homeowners over something as unintrusive and sensible as maintaining a compost pile on their private property.

    The neighbor used to report it regularly complaining that a reasonably small pile of organic matter was "unsightly". The compost pile did not smell, contained nothing but vegetation, and organic matter (for instance egg shells, coffee grinds), was regularly tended and turned, and it was 30 feet (across the garden) from the fence line. COE would investigate and warn and fine my dad each time the neighbor complained.

    Not once did they side with the notion of homeowners maintaining a compost pile and tell the neighbor to butt out and stop making stupid complaints. Maybe the city could offer a course on needless neighbor complaints and city bylaws pandering to such nonsense.

    sorry for the aside but just so ironic.
    Last edited by Replacement; 23-11-2015 at 01:30 AM.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

  6. #6

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    ^ funny. My dad was pretty old school. Things mostly like don't buy what you don't need, never throw out anything that can be repaired, don't buy a bigger house than you need, etc. (Like all those that lived here during the Great Depression).

    However when the composting started to be promoted again, I remember him saying something like: 'Christ, it took the City years to get rid of composting in the first place! People didn't know how to do it and there were problems with flies, mice...'

    Then a few years later when I was in my own house, there were so many flies around my neighbour's compost bin that I could literally see the swarms of them in my neighbour's yard, from across my yard and across a walkway in between! Incredible!
    Last edited by KC; 23-11-2015 at 08:31 AM.

  7. #7

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    Doesn't the city own a giant composter?? Why not put all organics there, and let them deal with 'issues' such as smell, pests, insects.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMorrocco View Post
    Doesn't the city own a giant composter?? Why not put all organics there, and let them deal with 'issues' such as smell, pests, insects.
    Good point. Except then we create additional waste via plastic bags, labour, fuel and trucking and processing costs.

    Recall the city giving away compost bins? I think they all ended up in a landfill.

  9. #9
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    As KC says, the problem with sending all the compost to the Waste Management Centre is the cost and environmental impact of transportation, bags, processing, etc. There are times of the year when bagged yard waste is absolutely overwhelming at the WMC, and some of it ends up going to landfill because it's too much for the big composter.

    Compost is pretty easy. Stuff wants to rot. I have composted for decades even before I took the Master Composter/Recycler course and I've had all the problems and there are simple things you can do to keep flies and mice away (or minimal).

    For flies, put a layer of leaves or older compost on top of fresh kitchen (or wet garden waste like grass clippings) waste. The carbon in the leaves helps balance the nitrogen in the fresh kitchen waste.

    For mice, keep the pile damp (wrung out sponge level of moisture) - they like dry homes. I add a bucket of water once in a while.

    For smell - adding dry material like garden leaves balances the high nitrogen in the fresh, wet material. Also, turn the pile once in a while to get air into it. The smells mainly happen when the compost is happening anaerobically. I keep an old pitchfork by the pile and loosen at least the top layers every time I add something to it, but it doesn't have to be that often. Even once a month in the warmer months is helpful.

    I actually "steal" bags of leaves from what my neighbours put out for garbage collection, because I never have enough of my own. I built my own three-bin composter, but the commercially available bins work, too.

    I don't compost grass clippings, because I leave them on the lawn, and I don't compost weeds like quackgrass and creeping bellflower, but pretty much everything else goes in the pile, including all non-animal-based kitchen waste.

    The benefit to doing these things is also that your waste will compost faster and hotter. and heat also deters flies and mice. My compost is so hot sometimes I can't put my hand into the middle of the pile. I have a thermometer in it and even now, when it's been cold for a few weeks, it's around 60C (140F).

    The benefits of compost for your garden are great - better vegetables, better flowers, easier maintenance. And it's basically free, except for a bit of time. I can't imagine not doing it.

    The City has lots of resources to help citizens who want to compost, including courses at John Janzen Nature Centre and Master Composter/Recycler volunteers who will come to your home and give you help and advice. Edmonton.ca/compost has the details.

  10. #10

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    Sherwood park does it with plastic bins and the same trucks that pick up other recyclables. so minialm increase on plastic bags etc. They take all orgnaic matter - not just plants - thus making it 100% organc recyling.

    Sounds like you have it all figured out, but I'm sure most wouldn't take that much time and research into it. I look at the 'green' house up my street with a solar array and built green. He can't even maintain of his yard let alone compost.

    Still not sure I will ever be sold on the grass-cylcling. Sure the grass provides moisture back to the exiting lawn, and protects the soild from evaporation but grass takes so long to degrade (hence the composter can't use it) that you just end up picking it all up and bagging in the next spring when you rake. Sure the volume isn't there as the moisture is all gone but it also that much harder to compost when dried.

  11. #11

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    I used to compost for a few years at one point. Now I don't have to I still would recommend it for people who have a flower/vegetable garden. The reason compost heaps attract flies is that people are doing it wrong. It's amazing when you tell people that you do not put meats/fats on a compost heap. A lot of people think it's for all leftover foods but it's not. If you make a compost keep it as far as possible from the house. If it does attract mice they will go there looking for food instead of your house. All neighborhoods have mice/voles, composters or not. Just because you don't see them does not mean they are not there. Composted soil is rich in all kinds of nutrients. It saves you having to by plant food etc. it's good for the environment and you will produce less garbage and use less garbage bags.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  12. #12

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    Good point, Gemini.
    To be fair, dumping a bunch of food scraps in a pile and ignoring it is not composting. That's just abandonment. And yes, that would probably attract mice and other critters. (Heck, that's where I would go if I were a mouse.)

    Composting is a thoughtful process of mixing greens, browns, water, and air to generate active decomposition. Done well, a compost pile is warm, smells like a forest floor, and does not attract critters.

    The City loves to see residents who do home composting. It takes a lot of pressure off of the waste system.
    Yes, the City composts organic waste from residential garbage. But just think about that process vs. home composting. Buy and maintain all the trucks. Organize collection routes. Collectors pick up the additional weight. Truck that waste around to all the houses. Then truck the waste to the WMC. Then sorting it. Then - finally - compost it.

    Not a zero-sum game.

    Pique your interest? Still looking for future Master Composter Recyclers. Visit edmonton.ca/mcrp

  13. #13
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by unclehat View Post
    Done well, a compost pile is warm, smells like a forest floor,....
    Yeah, a forest floor on which a bear just dropped a five alarm Taco Bell *****.

  15. #15

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    Somebody on the web-site I posted said to pee on the composter. Now, I think that's taking it a bit too far. I am sure there will be some hooser who set sail with Captain Morgan decides to enhance his compost when grandma is hosting the church congregation in her freshly prepped back garden. I can see the tall brows at the C of E sharpening their pencils to re-write the composting book.

    http://www.plantea.com/compost-materials.htm
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMorrocco View Post
    Still not sure I will ever be sold on the grass-cylcling. Sure the grass provides moisture back to the exiting lawn, and protects the soild from evaporation but grass takes so long to degrade (hence the composter can't use it) that you just end up picking it all up and bagging in the next spring when you rake. Sure the volume isn't there as the moisture is all gone but it also that much harder to compost when dried.
    The main problem with adding grass clippings to a compost is just the sheer volume. It would quickly overwhelm the rest of the material. Something to do with being high in nitrogen too?
    Most people say to let the grass clippings dry out a few days first before adding to compost.

    We always grass cycle except for first and last mows of the season. So much easier, way faster, and our lawn is always the greenest. Part of it is the extra moisture, part of it the free fertilizer.

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