Compost is defined as 'decayed organic material used as a plant fertilizer'. Compost can be made from kitchen food waste, backyard clippings and grass, as well as manure from livestock. For basic tips and information about composting, visit the Compost Council of Canada at www.compost.org
Benefits of composting
Everyone has the potential to make compost and there are two huge complementary benefits to composting:
1) Composting can reduce your garbage by up to 30%. It keeps organic materials out of the landfill and helps them to decompose much more quickly and efficiently (in landfills, organic materials don't have enough oxygen to decompose effectively).
2) Composting provides you with free, high quality, natural soil nutrients for your garden. Not only is the final soil product free, but it can replace the need for expensive soil and fertilizer products.
Different methods of Composting
Backyard compost bins can be purchased from the Co-op or Home Hardware. The ones for sale are closed systems to increase the speed of decomposition, keep animals out, as well as to keep the smell from the compost to a minimum. In the North, animals can be a concern so proper layering (i.e., covering food scraps) and keeping a lid on the backyard composter is important.
You can also make an open compost for larger yard waste as well. The materials in these composts decompose slower, but do not have much of a smell because it is just yard waste and not food.
The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako offers great information for individuals looking to set-up their own backyard compost. Download their Home Composting Factsheet here.
Not everyone has access to a backyard (or wants to access their backyard in the winter!) so indoor vermicomposting can be a great option! Vermicomposting is "composting with worms" and involves making a bin, creating bedding out of newspaper, and adding worms and worm food (aka kitchen waste). Usable compost ("humus") can be created in as little as 8 weeks using vermicomposting!
The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako has produced a factsheet on vermicomposting. Read it here.