A Community of Composters

For the last three years, residents of Bowness have been turning what many see as trash into a yard and garden treasure.

The Bowness Composting Initiative stemmed from an idea from local resident Ted Woynillowicz.

“It kind of started when our kids left home and I’d retired recently and wanted to get back into gardening,” he said.

Woynillowicz had a couple composters lying around, but discovered, with just two people at home, it would take longer to collect compostable materials. He went to a couple local restaurants, which agreed to set their compostable materials aside.

“It was really working out and I learned about composting and how to balance the browns and greens — the nitrogen and carbon — and keep it moist enough to create some action in there,” said Woynillowicz. “I had compost within a year so I was starting to add it to my garden, it was incredible, I’ve got a raspberry patch in one area that’s quite shady and I put some compost on that and I had such a bumper crop of raspberries.”

With Woynillowicz’s composters full, he reached out to neighbours through word of mouth and community events and today the Bowness Composting Initiative continues not only throughout the community but also reaching to outlying neighbourhoods such as Forest Lawn, Ranchlands and Rosemont.

“It’s a community builder as well,” said Woynillowicz. “I think there’s always the satisfaction that if people create their own compost and so forth you’re reducing the amount that goes into a landfill, you’re becoming a little more self sufficient and its fun to do.”

Composting isn’t just an activity to be practiced in the spring and summer months; in fact Woynillowicz explained winter is a good time to start as the freezing and thawing helps break down compostable materials. He recommends using a 50/50 mix of browns such as fallen leaves or sawdust (which takes longer to break down) and greens such as apple cores, vegetables and eggshells as greens for an optimum mix.

Compost has also been on the minds of city council lately, as the City plans on introducing a composting program by 2016, but as Metro Calgary reported, aldermen are having trouble deciding what kind of facility to build and who should own it — whether it be a private venture or a public one.

“We have to own the facility if we’re going to manage it and have the ability to actively expand the service within that facility,” alderman Gord Lowe was quoted as saying.

To test the compost program waters in the city, a green bin pilot program was introduced to the communities of Abbeydale, Brentwood, Cougar Ridge and Southwood in March 2012. According to the City, in 2012 residents in the pilot communities reduced their garbage by an average 42 per cent and 1.8 million kilograms of food and yard material was collected for compost.

For more information on the Bowness Composting Initiative visit Bowness Composting Initiative on Yahoo Groups.

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