Monday, July 16, 2012

Pit Stops: John Janzen Nature Centre CT

Reblogged from The Dusty Musette

Tucked away in a western cranny of Edmonton’s river valley, between Fort Edmonton Park and the John Janzen Nature Centre, stands a marvel of elegant, simple, sanitary-engineering  design. It’s a composting toilet (CT), made by Advanced Composting Systems of Whitefish, Montana, and it’s situated in a small raised structure next to a cycling path. The staff of the Nature Centre look after it, and they keep it remarkably clean and well stocked; I’ve used it many times and never been caught wanting for supplies. Sometimes there’s even actual Purell in the hand-cleaner dispenser.

My guess is that the Nature Centre folks see the CT as a kind of environmental PR project, promoting the possibilities of composting. (There is, in fact, a Compost Education Centre at the Nature Centre across the trail). So I suspect there’s a kind of pride factor that helps explain the pristine condition of this craphouse. A sign inside explains how the toilet works—making vague reference to mysterious “organisms” that live down below and go to town on the unsavoury deposits in such a way that renders said deposits benign, odorless, heck, even beneficial. The sign refers to the end-product as “a rich, well-stablilized mulch.” And here’s the amazing thing: the place is completely odorless. A quick glance down the hole would make you think that’s impossible, but I’m here to testify that the place absolutely does not smell in any way toilet-y. Actually, it smells kind of peaty, in a subtle, earthy way, like a fine single malt Scotch.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Trash to treasure: Edmonton’s first Eco Station Reuse Area Opens

 The City of Edmonton celebrated the opening of its first Reuse Area, located at Ambleside Eco Station (14710 Ellerslie Road) on Friday, June 22. The Reuse Area gives residents the chance to reuse large items such as sofas, chairs and other household items brought to Eco Stations.
“There was so much energy on opening day that items were literally flying out the doors,” shared Eco Station Supervisor Tony Colangelo. “One person’s trash is really another person’s treasure and the Reuse Area is like a great big treasure chest as you’ll never know what you will find.”
“By continuing to use items that are in good condition, we’re all helping to keep waste out of landfill,” said Councillor Bryan Anderson. “The Reuse Area contributes to our leadership in waste management and supports The Way We Green, the City’s vision for an environmentally sustainable city.”
“The Eco Stations offer a convenient one-stop location for all types of household waste,” said Trent Tompkins, director of Collection Services with Waste Management Services. “Residents often bring a mix of material, and I’m very pleased that this initiative enables us to set aside those items that can be reused and really shouldn’t go to landfill.”
Since opening the Reuse Centre has seen lots of action. On Thursday, June 28 it was the location of MEAET 3.0, a microfunding projects organizing by volunteers of Edmonton's NextGen.
The two events each drew about 100 citizens to the new facility. Come visit the Ambleside Reuse Area for yourself!