Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Don't Feed the Grass Monster

During the grass growing season (May - August), weekly residential waste can be monstrous, even double the volume collected during the winter. To avoid feeding the Grass Monster, the City is asking residents to go bagless this summer, and leave grass clippings on the lawn.

An average household that bags their clippings sets out 40 to 50 bags of grass each year. Roughly 30,000 tonnes of grass are collected annually, which is equivalent to the weight of 2,382 City buses.

Going bagless has many benefits:
  • It’s good for your lawn: the grass clippings protect the soil by keeping moisture in the ground. Also, the clippings break down quickly, naturally fertilizing the lawn with nutrients after each mowing.
  • It’s good for you: no bagging and dragging of grass is required, and it reduces the need to water and fertilize your lawn.
  • It’s good for the environment: in the summer months, up to half of the waste collected by the City is grass. Going bagless is the easiest, most effective way to reduce waste. 
More than half of Edmonton households already practice going bagless -- join them! By signing up for a Go Bagless lawn sign, you’ll have a chance to win a checkup and tuneup for your mower from the Lawnmower Hospital.

For more information visit edmonton.ca/GoBagless.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Welcoming the 2017 MCRs

The 2017 Master Composter Recycler (MCR) training has officially finished! We're excited to welcome 37 new MCRs-in-Training to the program. Congratulations on completing the training!

2017 MCRs on the tip floor at the IPTF.
This group has embraced their volunteer goals! Since beginning their training on March 18, 2017 they have recorded over 230 hours and reached nearly 2,900 people!

The MCR training is focused on Edmonton's waste, and how it changes through the year. We talked about composting, recycling, Eco Stations, grasscycling, waste collection, the Reuse Centre and the processing facilities at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre.

Volunteers also learned about techniques and tools to use when chatting with friends, family and neighbours about changing their waste behaviours. Experienced MCRs came in to share their stories and successes, and to reach out to new volunteers.

50 veteran MCRs also followed along with this year's training via email. They received updated manuals, handouts, and links to all of the informative, interesting and sometimes downright hilarious videos shown in class.

Thank you to all Waste Services Staff and MCR volunteers who helped make this year's training such a success! We know our newest volunteers will be great ambassadors for waste reduction in Edmonton!

2017 MCRs-in-Training learned from a variety of Waste Services staff and veteran MCR volunteers.

All photographs provided by the City of Edmonton.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tell One Friend: Use Your Compost!

Image provided by the City of Edmonton

Tell One Friend: Use your compost!

Now that spring has finally hit our fair city (knock on wood!), it's the perfect time to start using your finished compost. Your yard and garden will benefit from the burst of life and nutrients at the outset of the growing season.

Dig compost into your garden soil, sprinkle it over your lawn, or make a compost tea to nourish the soil in containers and houseplants.

Learn how at edmonton.ca/compost.

Use these ideas to remind your friends, family and co-workers:

Change habits
"Spring is a great time to use compost. It will get your growing season off to a healthy start."

Prompt them
"Let's look at your compost bin. You probably have some finished compost at the bottom."

One small ask
"Will you use some compost this spring?"

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

An Indoor Worm Condo That's Fast, Cheap, and Good by MCR Dan K.

I have used a medium-sized indoor "worm condo" for many years. It works very well and holds quite a lot of compost. However, it can't keep pace with the organic waste my family produces, and it's an expensive system -- two additional trays cost about $70.
Worm Factory (c) 3 Tray System by Nature's Footprint
For a bigger and less expensive system that can help us compost our kitchen scraps faster, I'm going to try making a bigger condo from IKEA Trofast storage containers

This great idea comes from Jules Yap at IkeaHackers and will cost only $17.50 new for the pieces I need. They are readily available at IKEA in Edmonton and may be found used on Kijiji and your friendly neighborhood garage sale.

Here's what I'm going to use:
  • (1) medium-sized, deeper container for the base to catch the leachate. 
  • (3) small, shallow containers to stack inside each other above the base container. (More could be added, but three seems like a good start.) Drainage and worm access holes will be drilled in the bottom of each one.
  • (1) lid for the topmost container. It's not strictly necessary, but if you don't want an open compost container in your house, a lid is nice.
Screen capture, courtesy IKEA.com
After I get my new worm highrise assembled next to my old condo I'll do a followup post to show how it works out.


Dan is a freelance web developer and father of four relatively efficient, non-wasteful young women. Originally from New York, Dan moved to Edmonton in 2016 and joined the MCR Program straightaway to influence peple to let worms eat their garbage. Waste reduction tip: If you can get food and paper out of your trash, you may find you have very little garbage going to the curb every week.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It's Time to "Wake Up" Your Compost!

Many Edmontonians compost because they know it’s an easy way to reduce household waste by turning it into a valuable soil enhancement. International Compost Awareness Week (May 7-13) is the ideal time for residents to revitalize their gardens by stirring their compost or taking up composting for the first time!

Do you know how to wake up your compost?
The City of Edmonton is offering the following opportunities
to help residents better understand composting:
  • Take a basic or advanced two-hour workshop for only $10 at Compost ‘S cool, located near John Janzen Nature Centre.
    Workshops offered April 23 to May 6.
  • Ask the Compost Doctor anything you want to know about compost by calling 780-496-5526 or email compost@edmonton.ca.
  • Follow along with the conversation on Facebook@CompostScool. Get pointers and to-do lists for your weekend, plus learn something about organics recycling, every week.
To register for workshops, go to edmonton.ca/eReg or call 311.