Learning how to reduce the amount of waste your family produces is an important part of living a greener lifestyle. While most people know the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, fewer people know how composting their kitchen scraps can cut the amount of garbage going to the landfill by 30 – 50 per cent. What’s more, it’s even easier than ever to get started with composting.
City of Vancouver yard waste collection bins
The City of Vancouver is dedicated to increasing the amount of waste that is diverted from the landfill. The green-topped wheelie bins used for yard trimmings collection also accept uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and filters, teabags and eggshells for composting. While composting your food scraps in a backyard composter is still more energy-efficient than the city collection service, the collection service is available to everyone who has a leaf waste bin. This is truly easy composting, and takes no more work than sorting your recyclables.
The easiest and cheapest way to get started making your own compost is by getting a black composter from the city. Set it up, start filling it with uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps, dead leaves and yard waste, and let the magic of decomposition go to work. To avoid attracting pests, keep grains, cooked foods, meat and oils out of your compost, and always make sure the lid is attached properly. After several months, the rich, black compost can be removed from the bottom of the composter and added to your backyard garden plot or flowerbeds. A photo tutorial makes it easy to learn how to compost.
Composting with a backyard composter is great for those who live in houses with a backyard, but even apartment dwellers can compost with a vermiculture setup. Vermiculture, or a worm bin, is an easy, low-odor way to transform kitchen waste into nutrient-dense compost. Kids are usually ready and willing helpers when it comes to caring for your worm bin, as they love carefully picking the red wriggler worms out of the finished compost and transferring them to the new bedding. The City of Vancouver sells a limited number of worm bin kits each year, which include everything you need to get started, including a one hour workshop, for $25.
Composting helps reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill in the garbage truck each week, transforms food scraps into valuable fertilizer and is really much easier than you might think. Great compost is an essential part of healthy soil, so don’t let your food scraps go to waste. Throw those vegetable peelings in the green leaf waste collection or make your own compost in a backyard composter or worm bin.
Michelle Carchrae is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom to two girls. With a serious love for Vancouver and an equally serious need to get out of the house with two young kids, Michelle searches out the best kid and parent friendly places to go. Michelle also writes about parenting at her blog, The Parent Vortex.
Michelle Carchrae is often asking those important life questions: "who moved the scissors?", "how would you do that differently next time?" and "are you finished with the glitter glue?" Homeschooling two girls, ages 6 and 3, is her full time job. The rest of the time Michelle can be found blogging at The Parent Vortex, hiking in the forest or knitting and reading simultaneously. She recently published her first ebook, The Parenting Primer: A guide to positive parenting in the first six years, and moved to Bowen Island.