Waste not, want not honours
By Paul Cluff
Cathy Nesbitt was working at a large group home when she discovered what her mission in life would be - environmental conservation.
The Bradford, Ont., resident quit her job to start up Cathy's Crawly Composters and sell innovative at-home compost systems that convert food scraps into nutrient-rich fertilizer.
The name of the business hints at how it works. Red wiggler worms are packaged in insulated bins and they eat up the compost materials.
"I realized when I was starting out that a pound of worms could transform a tonne of waste in a year."
She had also heard at the time that the average Canadian family generates a tonne of organic waste in a year.
"I did the math and realized every house needs a pack of worms."
It might not be the sexiest form of environmentalism, but Ms. Nesbitt’s work earned her an honour last night at the Recycling Council of Ontario’s Waste Minimization Awards at the Arden Park Hotel.
The awards are for those who have reached new heights in environmental sustainability by creating innovative waste-reduction programs.
"It gives us a chance to celebrate those that take on, invest in and manage initiatives of waste control," said Jo-Anne St. Godard, executive director of the Recycling Council of Ontario. "These people are the pillars."
Nominees from across the province were honoured in categories that include business, not-for-profit, schools, communities and industry.
John Jackson, a board member of the Recycling Council of Ontario, said the annual banquet is a chance to celebrate the hard work of a diverse group of Ontarians that strive for the same thing - whether that be an environment management system committed to by a University Health Network or a school honoured for its efforts at embracing bagless lunches.
For Katie Alward it was also a chance to swap ideas and learn some new initiatives. The waste reduction co-ordinator for the City of Stratford said the city works hard on waste-diversion programs and hopes to reach its waste-diversion goal of 60 per cent by 2008. The city is currently at 48 per cent.
"We are doing everything we can and as much as we can. We're almost there", she said.
Guests last night wished there were more people in Ontario on the same page. Ms. St. Godard said everyone has to do their part to make a difference.
"We are better than we used to be but there is still a long way to go," added Mr. Jackson.
Too much garbage goes to the landfill and incinerators, he said. "It's far from being good enough."
People are bombarded with issues every day, said Ms. Nesbitt, so thinking about waste reduction often takes a back seat, despite the growing problems associated worldwide with too much waste.
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