From her grandmother’s garden, Kayla Siefried now grows a variety of plants and nutrient-rich soil from her composting education center in Victoria.
This nonprofit is always there to answer people’s questions about composting or gardening, and for Siefried, turning otherwise wasted food and yard waste into valuable and sustainable products is a practical way she can help Creating a better future in a world that feels debilitating sometimes.
“It’s a very simple way in which I can empower myself to have some impact on climate change,” says the composting center’s site manager and adult education coordinator. “Being able to work the soil myself, divert waste from landfills, and grow really good food to feed my family just makes it all worthwhile.”
The amount of organic matter (kitchen and yard waste) that ends up in the Hartland landfill has fallen by about 11 percent since 2010, but remains the region’s second-largest source of waste. It is also the largest source of waste from single-family and multi-family dwellings.
Organic matter in these landfills gets compacted under other waste, where it fails to break down into nutrient-rich products and instead produces methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas.
The Capital Region Council agreed on April 12 to explore regulating kerbside organics collection in every community in the region. Residents are still encouraged to compost their organics at home if possible, but the rules could mean that municipalities without dedicated curbside programs offer some sort of option.
Without a regional food scraps disposal facility, all of CRD’s food waste would be destined to be shipped abroad—which, Siefried points out, is energy-intensive. Whether or not people have access to a yard, balcony or some space under the kitchen sink, there are home composting options for everyone, says Siefried.
“We’re reducing the amount of energy it takes to transport food waste, but at the same time we’re reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced when organic matter ends up in landfill,” she said.
The Education Center offers outreach programs throughout the region and hosts numerous free workshops for young and old. These teach people how to make their own nutritional and microbial compost that is better than store-bought bagged products.
“Soil is a living thing and there’s a whole web of life underneath, so by adding compost to the soil, we’re nurturing that life,” Siefried said.
Several CRD communities such as Colwood, Langford or North Saanich do not have a municipally run curbside green bin program, but offer some level of delivery in some cases. Even in communities that have their own services, many larger condos and condos don’t get these services, so property managers need to outsource organics movers.
Some communities allow residents to hire private delivery vehicles, but Siefried said she’s heard of cases where multiple large trucks service different homes on the same street multiple times a week, rather than serving the entire neighborhood at once.
Composting educators would be thrilled if every municipality and all multi-family housing had to offer a green bin program, because it would reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.
“That’s low-hanging fruit.”
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Climate change CRD Victoria waste disposal
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