Composting is the next big thing in N.L., minister says

James McLeod
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With organic waste making up roughly a third of Newfoundland and Labrador trash, Environment Minister Tom Hedderson said Tuesday that if we want to get serious about reducing waste, composting is the next big thing.

Environment Minister Tom Hedderson spoke about the importance of composting Tuesday at a conference organized by the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board.
— Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

Hedderson spoke briefly to open a two-day conference organized by the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) talking about composting and organic waste.

“Keeping organic waste out of landfill is imperative to delivering a progressive and environmentally sound waste management plan that is designed to keep this province of ours clean as well as healthy,” he told organic waste experts from across North America.

Hedderson said that the government has been subsidizing backyard compost bins, and that’s a good start, but it’ll never be enough.

“We have 300 tonnes (of organic waste) a day. So if that can be cut down by 100 tonnes, that’s great, but there’s still going to be 200 more — also from our restaurants and our institutions and so forth,” he said.

Mike Samson, CEO of the MMSB, said that there are just some things that don’t compost well at home.

“I know from my own experience as a backyard composter, you can really reduce your organics and the amount of material you’re sending to the curb working in your backyard, but there’s some things you can’t deal with,” he said.

Samson said there are plenty of companies out there who are doing good work when it comes to large-scale composting, and this week’s conference is partly about bringing them together.

“I like to think of the MMSB’s primary role as sort of the agent of change. What we do is we work with people to develop broader thinking, to introduce new ideas, to facilitate conversations, to encourage innovation,” he said.

“We think there are opportunities on the business side to help us advance that.”

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Multi-Materials Stewardship Board

Geographic location: North America

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Recent comments

  • Tracey
    September 27, 2013 - 12:17

    Backyard composting is fine. OPEN backyard composting is not fine, especially when placed up against your neighbour's fence and loosely held in place by tree limbs standing 8 feet high. They're an eyesore, stink and attract pests and rodents. As a result of two of these disgusting piles of rotting vegetation towering over our backyard (which we can no longer use and enjoy after 50 years living there!), I now have to use heavy duty pesticides to prevent the ridiculously high number of insect stings that I had to endure this year - a number that is unprecedented over the 50 years that I've been living there! And you can bet that some of those pesticides are going through the fence and into the offending compost heaps. Although inclined to compost (properly, in an enclosed bin provided by the MMSB), I will NOT participate until the misguided practice of open composting is banned in urban areas. Rant over (for now). Yes, I'm upset!

  • MrSqueaker
    September 27, 2013 - 10:58

    Maybe the city planning departments can start bumping up minimum lot size in st johns and paradise and end this irresponsible practice of cramming suburbanites into unsustainable situations. Tom is more of a stooge than Charlene Johnson. Our environment will suffer while these fools who could hardly manage a dollar store, keep getting bounced from portfolios that our leaders must neglect. We have these lovely boards, that will figure out some non profit solution that involves our money going to them to pay for composting that is not likely to happen, just like electronics recycling, the problem was nurtured for years, to justify the solution, that is not a solution, just more people, the parties people getting paid out of tax money.

  • JacksonII
    September 27, 2013 - 08:08

    Organic waste...should go good with your Rice Chex Tom. An excellent source of B.S. to replace some of the garbage you regularly spew out.