Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Edmonton Celebrates 25 Years of Recycling

The City of Edmonton is celebrating 25 years of recycling and is thanking residents for their ongoing and enthusiastic participation in its three residential recycling programs.
“This anniversary is an important milestone, and demonstrates Edmontonians' dedication to the environment,” says Mayor Stephen Mandel. “We’ve come a long way in the past 25 years, and we are now world leaders in sustainable urban waste management.”

Mayor Mandel, Michael Recyle & kids with City Hall School
Edmonton was the first major city in Canada to implement curbside recycling, and since its inception in 1988 Edmontonians have set out enough recycling to form a convoy of trucks from Edmonton to Lake Superior, Ontario, a distance of approximately 2,500 kilometres.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Great Toilet Harvest of 2013

Our Composting Toilet opened for business in 2007, at the John Janzen Nature Centre. The toilet shows that we can compost even that stuff.

Visitors to John Janzen Nature Centre and the Compost Education Centre have been peacefully contributing ever since. On August 24th, seven compost fanatics met to harvest the Composting Toilet for the very first time.

Megan & Andrew getting composty

How it works

Wood chips get mixed with the "fresh compostables" - liquids and solids - in the toilet. Micro-organisms thrive on both types of nitrogen- and carbon-rich materials to break down the waste. Then the whole batch is gets stirred, regularly, to introduce new waste for the organisms.

We have been surprised by the Composting Toilet. Most of all, it's taken almost six years to have enough finished compost.

Adding the finished compost
Site when we were done

Harvesting the finished product

First, we dug a trench near our perennial plants - away from food crops. Next, we dug the trench again. This makes a trench that is doubly-deep.

Then we harvested finished compost and mixed it into the trench, along with some soil. Finally, we topped the trench with the layers of soil.

When finished, the compost amends the soil and encourages roots to develop deep. We made sure to keep this humanure compost away from food crops and away from contact with visitors.

Special thanks to those MCRs who helped with harvesting: Maureane D., Mary-Jo G., Hannah H., Andrew J. and Megan M. Our tireless organizer was Ella W., our compost educator extrordinaire (and summer staff).

Most of all, thanks to Mark S.
He has tended the Composting Toilet for more than 5 years. He is the first one to stir the "compostables" in spring. He preps the "catchment" at the end of fall. And he replenishes the wood chips and air fresheners in the dead of winter. Thank you, Mark.

More Info

Friday, September 6, 2013

Another hazard for waste collectors

Waste collectors face another workplace hazard in late August and early September: wasps.
Encounters between waste collectors and yellow-jackets increase during this time of the year, as wasps become more aggressive than usual. Some people can have very serious and even life-threatening reactions to wasp stings.
Residents can do several things to help minimize the number of collectors being stung while picking up the garbage, and also protect themselves from these pesky visitors.

Want tips to keep wasps away from your waste? click here