Town looking at community composting plan
The Green Committee in Bay Roberts is taking a look at a plan for community composting.
Councillor Walter Yetman chairs the committee, which also includes Coun. Bill Seymour and Tourism, Culture and Economic Development Director Ron Delaney.
“I know it’s not a budgeted item and it includes outside staff and it takes time and money and it’s a brand new initiative,” Coun. Yetman said after last week’s regular council meeting. “And it might take some time,” he added, “but we’re now in the planning stage.”
In addition to decreasing waste management costs, community compost is good for the environment, promotes a town as environmentally friendly and can provide free compost for residents.
The councillor has brought up the topic at several council meetings in the past. At last Tuesday’s (May 26) regular meeting Yetman gave an overview of a forum he attended on community based composting May 7 and 8.
The Multi Material Stewardship Board (MMSB) provided the forum, which was held at MUN Botanical Garden.
A community compost would be fed with lawn clippings and tree branches, thereby cutting down on the amount of garbage having to be trucked to Robin Hood Bay.
Two towns that currently use composting programs made presentations at the forum.
“Some towns recommend getting a chipper or mulcher for branches,” Coun. Yetman pointed out.
“The first day of the seminar dealt mostly with the science of composting and the technical information needed to start up and operate a community based compost,” Coun. Yetman said in his report, outlining the basic ingredients including the moisture content required.
He explained piles of compost “ are formed into rows called windrows. It needs to be turned and mixed on a regular basis and could take up to a year to cure before it becomes usable compost.”
One of the towns at the forum utilizes windrows that are five feet high, 15 feet wide and 50 feet long, and are maintained by staff with a 950 loader.
Taking household waste is not encouraged, but residents are encouraged to drop off their grass cuttings and leaves. One town apparently came up with a for- mal policy not allowing grass or leaves in regular household garbage.
Yetman said his committee has not yet looked into the possibility of banning pesticides on lawns as a way of ensuring the compost is free of toxins.
“But yes, that will be given very serious consideration,” he told The Compass following the meeting.
There is little evidence that people working around compost piles are affected by health or safety issues, he said.
“The odour caused by the turning and mixing is not a health hazard, but merely a nuisance.”
With proper planning odour can be eliminated or at least minimized.
Location, proper equipment, signage and public awareness are all important issues, Yetman said.
“I doubt it would be done by September when a new council comes in... But we don’t know how it’s going to go,” he said last Thursday. “I wish we had more time.”