Town looking at com­mu­nity com­post­ing plan

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY LIL­LIAN SIM­MONS

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.

Sci­ence

“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.

Pes­ti­cides

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.”

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