Diverting organic waste for the benefit of our soils – 9 years of teaching

I love how our communities are integrating the importance of diverting organic waste, and recycling it into compost that improves our soil and our food sustainability! One of my privileges with the Compost Facility Operators Course, is to assist our communities to do this safely and effectively.

After nine years of teaching the Compost Facility Operator training course in British Columbia, I continually learn from all who attend the class. Last week, we had 11 persons from British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories. A wonderful group of individuals who want to make composting, organic waste diversion, soil enhancement, and sustainable communities, succeed!

Compost Facility Operator course participants Nov 4-6 2015

Compost Facility Operator course participants Nov 4-6 2015

One of the most meaningful parts of the composting course was to work together in a practical compost pile building exercise, where we learn the importance of microbes and oxygen (where a 25% food waste blend in a 75 L bucket is already at 2% oxygen after one day), and how much moisture needs to leave the composting process (350 L or 92 US gallons per cubic meter of composting material at 65% moisture). We then use that knowledge to design an effective small scale composter for smaller communities.  We discussed the creative work already happening in many communities, making composters from old freezers, making composter from fish totes, including how they may have to be adapted, and what challenges we may have.

We worked together to design a small insulated box composter that uses local materials, and can be made in various sizes, one that utilizes natural convection to provide oxygen to the microbes, uses a biofilter layer on top of the composting material to control odor, and uses a cover structure to facilitate the required moisture removal.

using the principles of composting including oxygen supply, odor control and moisture removal to design an effective small scale composter

using the principles of composting including oxygen supply, odor control and moisture removal to design an effective small scale composter

We love to see creative expression of how our communities are integrate the principles of composting in their communities, using local resources as much as possible. The next course date is March 30 through April 1, 2016. More information on this course is on our website.

 

 

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