Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Turn Them In: A Successful Campaign

Edmonton's Kennedale Eco Station opened in the northeast of the city on March 31, 2015. With this addition, there is now one Eco Station in each quadrant of Edmonton. Visit to find one in your area.

The opening provided a great opportunity to remind Edmontonians of what items to take to the Eco Stations and how to use them. We launched the Turn Them In campaign, which focused on the disposal of household hazardous waste. The campaign reminded residents that items like cleaning chemicals, batteries, motor oil, light bulbs, and paint should never go in the garbage, and that they are FREE to drop off at the Eco Stations.

In partnership with Global TV, the City of Edmonton challenged Edmontonians to reach 30,000 Eco Stations visits in 30 days. The challenge was a success, with 30,447 visits between April 11 and May 12! The new Kennedale site claimed a whopping 7,699 of those visits.

"Turn Them In" combined internet and television ads to get the word out, including this ad, which aired on several networks, such as Global, CityTV, and OMNI (plus some US channels through Shaw).

"Turn Them In: Hidden Horrors" won a Telly award for excellence in commercial videos and online content.

Our favourite new mascot, Battery Newman, also received a Telly Award for online content.

CityTV also produced a mini documentary about Eco Stations, called Eco City. It features interviews with several employees of Waste Management Services, who clear up some mysteries about what to take to an Eco Station and what happens once you Turn It In.

Overall, visits to Eco Stations increased by 20 per cent (compared to April and May, 2014). On a city-wide scale, that translates into a huge amount of waste diverted from the landfill.

Way to go, Edmonton!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Art at Kennedale Eco Station

Next time you’re dropping off your waste at the new Kennedale Eco station, expect to experience more than just convenience and great service.

Five pieces of artwork were recently installed at Kennedale Eco Station. Brandon Blommaert, the artist who designed the artwork for Ambleside Eco Station, used a similar concept at Kennedale by montaging hand made sculptures with actual landscapes. Brandon collected discarded and reusable objects to build the sculptures, then paired them with landscapes from various places around Canada.

These art installations are part of the City’s Percent for Art program where one per cent of the construction budget of any publicly accessible municipal project is allocated for art.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Composting at The Sunshine Community Garden

MCRs are "community leaders in waste reduction." Here is Jocelyn C's report about setting up a compost system at her community garden -- along with students from a local junior high school!  

"Although I was not yet an MCR in 2014, I was already a composting devotee so I took on the task of planning our community garden’s composting system. The Sunshine Garden (or Fulton Place community garden) was designed in 2014 and built in May 2015. 

To get ideas for placement and design, I first called the City of Edmonton’s compost hotline and asked Mark Stumpf-Allen to come to a garden meeting in May 2014 to answer our community garden composting questions. In July 2014, I also took part in the Sustainable Food Edmonton community garden bike tour, which really helped me get an idea of the different approaches these gardens took to collecting and harvesting compost.

During the tour, I was especially impressed by the composting system from the Rio Terrace Community Garden, so we went ahead and copied its 3-bin design by buying these brackets from Lee Valley. Using Mark’s advice, we placed the composting system in an area sheltered by two lilac trees, and placed signage along the bin that has the most active pile to protect it from drying. 

We installed the compost bins in May 2015 during a work bee that we had organized with the nearby junior high school – 90 grade 8 & 9 students from Hardisty School came to the garden site to help build the garden. Every screw that holds our composter together was drilled by a junior high student! The students were really keen to learn about composting and asked many great questions. 

Now that our first garden season is coming to an end, we have been thrilled by the amount of nearly finished compost we have already produced (half of a cubic yard)! Our three-bin system is working well for us. We have the gardeners input their clippings into one bin, which are mixed with browns to prevent smells and to balance the composting reaction. The middle bin is where the nearly finished compost can cure without a continual input of greens. The finished compost ends up in the third bin, so the gardeners can add it to their garden plots as needed. We turned the bins over in August, and will do it again in the spring." 

Learn more about The Sunshine Garden, visit the website or facebook group.

How does your community garden compost?
What are the successes and challenges?

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Jocelyn C. became an Master Composter Recycler in 2015.
She has been an enthusiastic volunteer. Jocelyn has set up her Free Tables at her workplace, created this "Compost Mentor Lives Here" sign, and presented about urban bees at the 2015 MCR Summer Social.