Frequently Asked Questions
What is Community Composting?
Community composting is a small-scale approach to composting that is tailored to your neighbourhood or community.
It’s happening successfully in communities worldwide because it’s a low-cost, low-tech, low-risk effort that reduces waste, creates compost to produce food and empowers people.
The US Institute for Local Self-Reliance has defined the following six guiding principles:
- Resources recovered: Waste is reduced; food scraps and other organic materials are diverted from disposal and composted.
- Locally based and closed loop: Organic materials are a community asset, and are generated and recycled into compost within the same neighborhood or community.
- Organic materials returned to soils: Compost is used to enhance local soils, support local food production, and conserve natural ecology by improving soil structure and maintaining nutrients, carbon, and soil microorganisms.
- Community-scaled and diverse: Composting infrastructure is diverse, distributed, and sustainable; systems are scaled to meet the needs of a self-defined community.
- Community engaged, empowered, and educated: Compost programming engages and educates the community in food systems thinking, resource stewardship, or community sustainability, while providing solutions that empower individuals, businesses, and institutions to capture organic waste and retain it as a community resource.
- Community supported: Aligns with community goals (such as healthy soils and healthy people) and is supported by the community it serves. The reverse is true, too; a community composting program supports community social, economic, and environmental well-being.
HOW DOES GEORGESTOWN COMMUNITy COMPOST PROJECT avoid rodents?
We avoid what rodents like—easy access to food, safe spaces to nest, and the smell of meat—by using Joracan composting bins. These bins are off the ground and provide adequate storage for incoming food scraps and active composting piles.
To avoid spaces for nests, the bins are away from any foundation and walls.
The Program does NOT accept meat or dairy to avoid the smells. Participants are instructed (orientation session and materials) about what does and doesn’t go into the bins, among other basics of composting.
The Team monitors the bins three times a week to make sure the area keeps clean at all times, and the composting process runs smoothly.
HOW DOES GEORGESTOWN COMMUNITy COMPOST PROJECT avoid bad smells?
Bad smells mostly come from the lack of oxygen during the decomposition process, which happens if there’s not enough air circulation or if the materials are too wet.
The Joracan composting bins are designed to be properly aerated. The team rotates the bins frequently and follows the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a balanced recipe of greens (all your kitchen materials), browns (carbon-rich materials, e.g. softwood pellets, dry leaves), oxygen and water to keep the right temperature, moisture, and to minimize bad odours.
Keeping a balanced recipe is important for the overall success of the project.
How can the COMPOST be used?
Spread it on or mix it with existing soil! If you rely on fertilizers to tackle specific nutrient deficiencies, you may need to keep using them. Most fertilizers have higher levels of some elements than most compost. But with the use of compost over time, you shouldn’t need to use fertilizers at all.
Added to soil, compost increases the organic matter or nutrients in the soil, improves plant growth, conserves water, and helps prevent nutrient runoff and soil erosion.
Compost ready to use will be available for participants. We’ll notify them when the time comes!
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HAVE FINISHED compost?
About two-three months. Once the compost is out of the bin, we let it rest for a few more weeks to ensure it’s stable and won’t damage the plants.
The quick process is possible thanks to the bins’ design. The Joracan containers are made of steel and are insulated, which keep high temperatures (100-130°F) even during the winter.
HOW CAN I START a community composting project?
I’m glad you ask! No matter where you are in the province, please click here to contact us.
ARE there other community composting initiatives in Nl?
Yes! Towns like Kippens, Corner Brook, Deer Lake, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, among others, have started community composting programs. However, we don’t communicate with each other. Planeet wants to change that and bring composting to all NL! Click here to learn about the Community Composting Co-operative Network and how to join. All you need is to love composting!
About the Program
The Georgestown Composting Project is part of a larger vision of composting across the City. The project is testing the model and learning the opportunities and challenges so it can be replicated in the City and province. In this blog, you can learn more about our vision.
Benefits of community composting includes:
- Bringing people together to work on a common project.
- Embedding a culture of composting know-how in the community.
- Improving the quality of existing soil and thus boosting local food production.
- Giving participants the opportunity to be active in caring for the environment and community.
- Ability to closely monitor the materials going into the bins to minimize contamination and ensure the final product is high-quality.
- Helping residents to comply with the 4-bag limit implemented in Jan. 2021 in St. John’s.
The Program is a project of the Social Justice Coop NL in partnership with Kings Gate Condo, Stella’s Circle and Planeet Consulting, with funding from the Multi-Material Stewardship Board (MMSB, Solid Waste Management Innovation Fund), City of St. John’s (Community Grants) and Food First NL (St. John’s Food Assessment).
For more information, please click here to contact us.