Friday, March 5, 2010

Compost at your home in Iqaluit

The Bill Mackenzie Humanitarian Society - Ethical, Economic and Efficient Waste Management Solutions

Just what are you getting yourself into!

We welcome your desire to divert your organic waste from Iqaluit’s waste stream. We believe your family will find it rewarding for a variety of reasons. Besides protecting the environment and saving the city landfill space you are helping create a valuable local resource – a nutrient rich soil. And that will improve our city in many ways. Although diverting your organic waste at home requires some effort we believe you will soon find it highly efficient and that protecting the environment in this small way actually saves you time and money.

To make life easy for you we are providing all the necessary hardware to efficiently divert the organic waste from your home waste stream. Provided by the BMHS at no cost is one 10 liter kitchen collection bin and one (more if required) 46 liter storage container, wheeled if you prefer. We are also including some free big bin liners. They are simply garbage bags that will help keep the big bin clean but most importantly to us they help keep the organic waste from freezing to the inside of the big bin.

What we would like you to do at home.
Place your new 10 liter kitchen bin in a convenient location in your kitchen. Some place the bin on the cupboard, some under the sink. Some are hung on the inside of the cupboard door. Others hang the bins right inside their existing kitchen garbage receptacles.

Most people place a folded paper towel or newspaper on the bottom of the kitchen bin before adding food scraps. This makes the removal of the scraps easier when the bin is full. Then a quick rinse is usually all that is necessary to keep the bin clean. As an alternative you may want to try biodegradable bin liners. We have included a few sample biodegradable bags for you to try. Although they are rather expensive at about 15 cents each they will help keep the interior of your bin clean. We currently have a few boxes for sale. A box of 25 is $10. Most people find a paper towel and a quick periodic wash with detergent works just fine. Your choice. Also if you find that the bin starts to smell wash it out with detergent and let it sit in the sunshine for a few hours – that usually does the trick.

You can divert any form of organic material you wish. All food scraps in any form, if it’s going to rot, if its stinks or is going to stink, if it’s wet, if it was ever alive or part of something alive, we’ll take it. Coffee grounds including filters, apple cores, that half can of beans in the back of the refrigerator with the green stuff growing on top - we’ll take it, but please not the can. Vegetable peelings by themselves or wrapped in newspaper can go directly to the bin. Please drain the liquids from things like old pickles first. As a general rule we’ll take generally anything that will keep your other regular garbage container from getting wet and stinky and messy to handle. Bacon grease, fat, cheese, meat, bones, soiled paper towels, sour milk and cream, clam and lobster shells, hair, feathers, dead plants, will all compost. Left over country food in whatever form is full of nutrients that add to the quality of the compost. Dog and cat feces (and litter) will all compost well but we are not set up to handle it especially in large quantities at this time. The composting process generates the heat required to kill the harmful bacteria etc that may be present in feces and spoiled meat but doing the required mainteneace to produce a “Class A” compost is not possible by hand simply because our volumes are to great without the proper machinery. And no diapers please. It should go without saying but do not put glass, plastic or metal in any form in the bins. Some participants feel it necessary to use old plastic grocery bags. It does make extra work for us but we allow it as long as the grocery bags are not tied shut. The folks that use grocery bags are usually apartment dwellers. Emptying tied grocery bags at the compost pile is labor intensive. A rotten onion in a zip-lock bag is absolute torture.

When required or whenever you choose the contents of the kitchen bin is transferred to your new 46 liter big bin. But first the big bin should be lined with a sturdy garbage bag. You can locate the 46 liter bin anywhere that is convenient for you. We strongly recommend that the big bin be kept in an unheated area and as close to your kitchen as possible. But on collection day place the big bin out by the road so the collection crew can easily see it. They need to be able to empty it with as few steps as possible. We will notify you by email in advance of the next collection day. We will put the bin in a safe location if there are high winds that day.

We know you will soon discover a system that works well for your personal circumstances. We are also available to pass on the benefit of our past experiences so please give us a call anytime. We would also like to hear how you are doing from time-to-time.

We know that producing a Class A compost in Nunavut is possible because we surpassed the federal guidelines for windrow composting in 2004. Not only is it possible but we can do it with 1/3 the labour of a similar sized southern based facility. Unfortunately we lack the infrastructure to repeat the process every year since the volume of diverted organic material has increased substantially. Therefore it is not legal to grow food in the compost we produce in Nunavut. We know that will change soon.

If you want to return to the old system?
We would like you to make organic diversion a long term commitment. We will help you make this lifestyle change a habit you can be proud of. But if you choose to return to the old system of one big mixed bag going to one big garbage pile we would like you to return the bins to us or forward us a cheque to cover their cost. The replacement cost of the kitchen bin is $15 and $30 for the larger bin. Thank you again for your participation.

You can contact us for membership application at
Phone 979-3261
P.O.Box 1829 Iqaluit Nu. X0A-0H0

Providing Iqalummiut with a Choice!

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