It’s so simple. Instead of throwing your vegetable peels, eggshells and coffee grinds in the trash, put them in a bucket with some dirt and worms, and you’re just about a month away from beautiful compost.
But what do you do with the compost once it is disintegrated and ready to be used? Montreal has a home pick-up program; unfortunately, it’s not free. For $60 a year (the equivalent of just $5 a month), the city will dispose of your organic scraps once a week. This service should be free as it would make composting much more widely practiced.
The case for composting is obvious: rotting vegetables from landfills create large amounts of methane gas, one of the largest polluters that is even more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles.
According to educational website www.learner.org, 80 per cent of household waste goes to landfills. Statistics Canada says the average Canadian produces about 845 pounds of landfill waste every year. By composting and recycling properly, you can easily cut that number down by at least two-thirds. In turn, you will use fewer garbage bags; plastic remains in landfills for thousands of years.
If everyone composted, we could drastically reduce the amount of garbage we send to landfills. We would no longer have to pay other cities around Montreal to take our excess waste and the tax dollars we save from that could go towards funding the composting program.
In the meantime, we can all still do our part to reduce waste. Composting is easy, but you can’t just dump everything into a hole with dirt and leave it. You need warm and humid temperatures to aid decomposition. Adding worms to the mix is essential; they break everything down and aerate the soil. Mix it all around every few days and make sure to keep watering it. After about 40 days, you have brand new soil ready to be used.
Composting can be done indoors or outdoors. People are always afraid because they think decomposing fruits and vegetables will smell bad, but if done right there is no smell whatsoever. Once you become a pro, you can start adding meat scraps and bones which are great for calcium and vitamin production. Newspapers, leaves and woody materials can also be added to your mix.
If you do not want to pay the city to come pick up your compost, there are a number of things you can do with it. If you have a garden or lawn, compost is the best fertilizer you can get and will help your grass grow thick and beautiful. There are also many community gardens around the city. Most of them will have an area for compost and many of them will be glad to have the extra fertilizer.
Before you know it, you’ll be a green revolutionary, showing all your friends how to compost their own waste. Each person you teach will help prevent an average of 563 pounds of garbage from ending up in a landfill and in turn, will reduce atmosphere pollutants. All it takes is some initiative and you can make a huge difference.