Cathy Nesbitt, founder of Cathy’s Crawly Composters and the woman who has single-handedly raised awareness of worms and vermicomposting in Ontario was at Botanix garden centre in Barrie on April 22.
It was the annual Earth Day Open House at the centre, located on Bayview Drive, and Nesbitt had a display demonstrating how tiny red wiggler worms can transform a mound of organic garbage into worm castings – a gardener’s black gold.
Nesbitt was asked how the County of Simcoe’s organic collection program has affected her business. If residents can simply bag up their organics, and have it collected at curbside once a week, is there still interest in setting up a vermicomposting bin in the home?
"The green bin program has actually increased business," Nesbitt says. "People were excited about the idea of the green bin – until they put it in place."
Then they discovered that is can be expensive – most municipalities now require residents to use special "compostable" bags – and smelly.
"I hear people say that composting stinks. When I inquire further, it often leads back to the green bin. People think this is composting until I explain that composting is an aerobic process – meaning with oxygen," she says. "It should never smell like rotting food. If it smells like rotting food, it is rotting food and not composting. The green bin is simply rotting food until it is trucked to the facility for further processing."
That highlights another problem with the municipal green bin program: the use of diesel-powered trucks, to collect the waste for processing, creating a fairly large carbon footprint.
And then there’s the issue of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, released as food waste decomposes.
Referring to the small kitchen green bins, Nesbitt warns, "Unless the container is emptied every day or two into the larger container outside, it is off-gassing methane in the house."
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