Tuesday, May 23, 2017

An Indoor Worm Condo that's Fast, Cheap and Good part 2 by MCR Dan K.

A good rule of thumb for any kind of project is that you can't do it fast, cheaply and have a good result. You can have any two out of these three, but not all of them. It's not always true though, especially if the project is simple enough, like a worm bin made from stackable plastic storage containers.

For my fast, cheap and good worm condo, I used three small Trofast containers from IKEA. They're especially good for a worm bin because they have a recessed channel that runs all around the inner edge. Liquids and worms will go in there. A few 1/4" holes drilled in the corners will allow fluid to drain down to the bottom bin. (Don't drill any holes in the bottom bin.)  Holes allow worms and air to move through the bins as well.

Mark where you want to put the holes.

Then drill. Any drill bit with a diameter of about 3-5mm will do, since that's the size of most red wigglers.

The smallest Trofast bins make a very compact worm condo that you could fit under a kitchen sink, and you can easily add more levels to for more volume. It's also an easy bin to pick up and take with you for demos and workshops.

Since these bins are semi-transparent, you may want to keep them in a dark or shaded area, or else cover them.
I also got one of the larger Trofast containers, which has a really nice cover. I didn't pay attention to the measurements when I ordered these online; I thought the bigger bin was only deeper and not wider than the smaller ones. Wrong -- It's actually a totally different size.

I decided to put this large bin outside by our garbage cans with a bit of fresh scraps and compost my worms have been working on since early March.

I topped it off with some dry leaves that were stuck around the border of our small garden.

I can see this being a good place to put our Bokashi compost in the warm months, and any extra fresh stuff when I run out of room in my indoor bins.

The only thing these bins lack, that commercial worm bins often have, is a drain at the bottom. It would be simple to add a base and plastic spigot. Brewing supply stores are a good place to get these. It's even simpler to lift out the upper bins when you periodically "fluff" them and drain the bottom bin by pouring any collected leachate into a watering can for use on your plants.
-All photos provided by Dan K.


Dan is a freelance web developer and father of four relatively efficient, non-wasteful young women. Originally from New York, Dan moved to Edmonton in 2016 and joined the MCR Program straightaway to influence peple to let worms eat their garbage. Waste reduction tip: If you can get food and paper out of your trash, you may find you have very little garbage going to the curb every week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Don't Feed the Grass Monster

During the grass growing season (May - August), weekly residential waste can be monstrous, even double the volume collected during the winter. To avoid feeding the Grass Monster, the City is asking residents to go bagless this summer, and leave grass clippings on the lawn.

An average household that bags their clippings sets out 40 to 50 bags of grass each year. Roughly 30,000 tonnes of grass are collected annually, which is equivalent to the weight of 2,382 City buses.

Going bagless has many benefits:
  • It’s good for your lawn: the grass clippings protect the soil by keeping moisture in the ground. Also, the clippings break down quickly, naturally fertilizing the lawn with nutrients after each mowing.
  • It’s good for you: no bagging and dragging of grass is required, and it reduces the need to water and fertilize your lawn.
  • It’s good for the environment: in the summer months, up to half of the waste collected by the City is grass. Going bagless is the easiest, most effective way to reduce waste. 
More than half of Edmonton households already practice going bagless -- join them! By signing up for a Go Bagless lawn sign, you’ll have a chance to win a checkup and tuneup for your mower from the Lawnmower Hospital.

For more information visit edmonton.ca/GoBagless.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Welcoming the 2017 MCRs

The 2017 Master Composter Recycler (MCR) training has officially finished! We're excited to welcome 37 new MCRs-in-Training to the program. Congratulations on completing the training!

2017 MCRs on the tip floor at the IPTF.
This group has embraced their volunteer goals! Since beginning their training on March 18, 2017 they have recorded over 230 hours and reached nearly 2,900 people!

The MCR training is focused on Edmonton's waste, and how it changes through the year. We talked about composting, recycling, Eco Stations, grasscycling, waste collection, the Reuse Centre and the processing facilities at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre.

Volunteers also learned about techniques and tools to use when chatting with friends, family and neighbours about changing their waste behaviours. Experienced MCRs came in to share their stories and successes, and to reach out to new volunteers.

50 veteran MCRs also followed along with this year's training via email. They received updated manuals, handouts, and links to all of the informative, interesting and sometimes downright hilarious videos shown in class.

Thank you to all Waste Services Staff and MCR volunteers who helped make this year's training such a success! We know our newest volunteers will be great ambassadors for waste reduction in Edmonton!

2017 MCRs-in-Training learned from a variety of Waste Services staff and veteran MCR volunteers.

All photographs provided by the City of Edmonton.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tell One Friend: Use Your Compost!

Image provided by the City of Edmonton

Tell One Friend: Use your compost!

Now that spring has finally hit our fair city (knock on wood!), it's the perfect time to start using your finished compost. Your yard and garden will benefit from the burst of life and nutrients at the outset of the growing season.

Dig compost into your garden soil, sprinkle it over your lawn, or make a compost tea to nourish the soil in containers and houseplants.

Learn how at edmonton.ca/compost.

Use these ideas to remind your friends, family and co-workers:

Change habits
"Spring is a great time to use compost. It will get your growing season off to a healthy start."

Prompt them
"Let's look at your compost bin. You probably have some finished compost at the bottom."

One small ask
"Will you use some compost this spring?"