Over half the waste generated by households in our region is organic material such as yard and garden waste, food scraps and soiled paper products. Composting is an environmentally sound way to turn this waste into a useful resource.
The Regional District of Nanaimo has identified composting as a key initiative in achieving the region's long term Zero Waste goal to eliminate garbage, reduce greenhouse gases and create a more sustainable region. See the RDN Organics Diversion Strategy for more information.
Promotion and educational programs have encouraged backyard composting in the region. A regional pilot project has shown that by adding food waste to the collection of other curbside recyclables, households can divert up to 70% from the landfill. Curbside food waste collection will complement composting at home by accepting materials such as meat and food-soiled paper products that are unsuitable for backyard or worm composting.
Composting is natural biological process that turns organic waste from your kitchen and garden into a soil-enriching humus.
Home composting isn't complicated and most methods don't require expert knowledge or special equipment. Once you've decided on the best approach for your circumstances, it's simply a matter of taking the time to collect your organic waste and start an active compost pile. Once you get going, nature will take its course with a little help along the way.
Composting breaks down organic wastes through a combination of biological and organic processes. Biological agents such as worms, insects, fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms eat and digest the materials creating a nutrient-rich humus.
Materials suitable for composting depend on the method you choose but generally include vegetable and fruit scraps, grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds, tea and tea bags, egg shells, sawdust and wood ash. Bones, meat or fish, cooking oils, dairy products, grains or cereal, diseased plants or leaves and pet feces should not be composted as they will attract rodents and wildlife or contaminate your compost. Download the Composting or Worm Composting brochure from this site for more information.
Selecting the right method or combination of composting methods is important. Some methods don't even require a bin or special tools; others use the design of the composter to speed up the process.
The best approach is to select a system that suits your budget, the space you have available, the type and volume of waste you want to compost and your level of technical knowledge, time and enthusiasm. Here are some considerations: