You may be hesitant to participate in the Zero Waste Challenge because you live in an apartment, townhouse or condo without composting services. We have suggestions to help you! Several of them are also ideas that you could use regularly to minimize your impact on the environment and live sustainably.
Organic Waste Options for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
Compost Drop off
Try ShareWaste. The platform connects people who wish to recycle their kitchen scraps with their neighbours who are already composting, worm-farming or keep chickens. Now you can divert waste from landfill while getting to know the people around you!
If you’re in Waterloo, the University of Waterloo students and faculties have access to several Campus Compost locations.
Ask a friend or family member!
Try speaking to a friend, family member or neighbour who does not live in a multi-residential building. Most residents would be happy to have you add your organic waste to the contents of their green bin since they are interested in reducing our community’s impact on the environment.
Visit a Waste Transfer Station
The Region of Waterloo waste transfer stations will accept organic waste and compost it for a small fee. In Cambridge, go to 201 Savage Drive and in Waterloo, go to 925 Erb Street West, Waterloo.
Talk to your Building Manager
If you have been searching for a way to compost within your building, it is likely your neighbours have been as well! We recommend speaking to your neighbours and establishing if your building has a demand for composting services. If your neighbours are also longing to compost their organic waste, bring it up to your building manager. It is possible your building manager has no idea that composting is a concern of its residents and may arrange it if they know demand exists.
Vermicomposting is ideal for indoor composting because it creates very little mess and no odor, if done correctly. This method uses various types of earthworms to convert your organic waste into nutrient rich fertilizer. To get started with vermicomposting all you need is a large bin (such as a Rubbermaid bin) and some earthworms. Earthworms are different than other worms because they can process organic waste much faster. They are most productive when living at room temperature, thus they thrive in an indoor environment.
Setting up a vermicomposting station in your home is simple. First line your bin with a bedding of shredded paper. Then introduce the earthworms. Scraps from most fruits and vegetables can be added to feed the worms. Food scraps should be added to the bin regularly to keep up with the worm’s appetite. If too much food is added, the bin will begin to smell. If not enough food is added, the worms will die.
The worms require moisture in order to breath. It is important to maintain a moist, but not drenched environment. Regularly adding food scraps should be sufficient to maintain the moisture levels, otherwise a spray bottle can be used to dampen the worms bedding. It is recommended to poke small holes into the top and bottom of the bin. This will allow oxygen to enter the composter and excess liquids to drain out. Place a tray or second bin under the vermicomposter to collect these excess liquids.
Earthworms are herbivores. No meat or dairy products should be added to the vermicomposter. Most fruits and vegetables are okay to add to the composter. Citrus foods such as oranges, limes and lemons should not be added as the worms will not break them down. Onions and hot peppers should also remain out of the composter.
Vermicomposting requires very little effort or maintenance. It is an excellent solution to any apartment dweller’s composting needs.
Help us help you!
Reep Green Solutions is aware of the growing number of people living in apartments, townhouses and condos in Waterloo Region. We are concerned about the lack of composting service for them so we are currently in the planning stages of a pilot service, subscribe to our newsletter to get updates!
By: Laura Stern