A subtle change for a more sustainable future
In recent years, more and more communities are promoting composting on all scales; whether it be large facilities, or just a barrel in your backyard, the benefits to composting can have a significant positive impact on communities that embrace it. Some estimates show that 50% of what is thrown out is compostable material, from food scraps to lawn trimmings.
First hand benefits to composting include providing quality, locally sourced, and nutrient rich soil for your lawn and gardens. Having quality compost helps retain moisture and helps reduce diseases and pests. The effects of compost decrease the need for chemical fertilizers, and promote production of beneficial bacteria and fungi to breakdown organic matter, all in your own backyard.
A common mindset around composting is “what does it matter? My food waste goes into the ground and breaks down in the landfill, so why bother”? However, if the microbes that break down the food waste do so in an environment that is lacking oxygen, methane is a bi-product. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than CO2. On the contrary, a proper composting set up that is well oxygenated does not produce methane.
The Sioux Lookout Environment Committee recently released a survey to better understand composting in the community now, and where they want to see composting go in the future. The feedback to the survey was great with 232 people completing it. We found that over 50% of respondents are currently composting, and that there is a strong desire to start or learn in the rest of the survey group. This survey also helped to identify several barriers to composting within our community which the Environment committee will look to address going forward to help people overcome those limitations and take up composting.
In order to take some action from the survey results, the Environment Committee is looking at establishing an online reference page that will allow residents to easily find material that relates to composting and many of the concerns that were raised in the survey (i.e., deterring animals, getting started, composting in limited space). The hope is that by making this information easier to access for members of the community it will encourage composting across the Municipality. We hope to find more ways to promote composting in the community in the years to come. Thank you to those that took the time to complete the survey.
The Sioux Lookout Environment Committee