According to RecycQuebec’s action plan, 2019-2024, the provincial government wants municipalities to reach their goal of recycling 60% of compostable materials. They have added 10 million dollars in funds to achieve this goal.
By definition, organic material is fairly self-explanatory: anything that will decompose by natural biological processes, producing methane as a result. We have to separate this from other garbage to reduce the smell and any adverse gases. Organic materials are the easiest to recycle because it’s naturally inclined to decompose.
The problem for many seems to be that we have lost our sense of what to do with it, as our lifestyles have become detached from the production of food. Those who keep a garden have some skill in making compost piles, but there are many who just buy the earth and throw away the residue rather than put it back to use in their garden.
Composting solutions are not accessible for everyone for many reasons but debunking some of the myths around composting can help resolve these issues. First, they won’t smell if done properly. Also, they won’t attract vermin if they don’t include animal products. Old fashioned solutions for getting rid of animal products were to bury them and modern versions include passive solar heated barrels, covering buried metal containers, or putting them into airtight spinning containers. There are lists of sources for these containers on the RecycQuebec website.
Many advances in science involve experimentation with natural forces like air, heat and microbes offer innovative solutions. My particular experiment has been composting with worms for year round indoor composting. This can be done in any space and just needs some simple equipment which can be as cheap as a plastic tote or, more sophisticated bags, all of which can be ordered online or fabricated based on easily available plans. The result is a very valuable soil amendment that improves the texture and life of a garden.
Not everyone is comfortable around these critters so another improvement to regular composting is using air to speed up the process and remove the need for turning the piles, known as Aerated Static Pile. It too can be done on a small household level and replicated in larger scale for entire municipalities. In fact a group from the MRC waste committee recently visited a nearby facility in Pembroke which has been using this technology for the last twenty years to process all the compostable waste from small to large municipalities. The technology has even improved so it can be done without being in a closed container, thus reducing costs.
Our own municipality of Bryson may soon be finding a solution by using the aeration method to break down compost to heat a large passive solar greenhouse, to be constructed during the next year. It will incorporate composting worms in the process as source of soil amendment and also for fishing!
We can all do our part and research methods to assist in the problem of what to do with our waste.
Source : RecyQuebec Plan d’Action, 2019-2024: https://www.recycquebec.gouv.qc.ca/sites/default/files/documents/liste-composteurs-domestiques.pdf