Workshop can open a whole new can o’ worms

This year, over 60,000 tonnes of garbage will be hauled to landfills operated by the Comox Strathcona waste management service

This year, over 60,000 tonnes of garbage will be hauled to landfills operated by the Comox Strathcona waste management (CSWM) service, filling up space equivalent to approximately 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

So the CSWM service is encouraging people to reduce the amount of garbage generated in the first place by trying worm composting.

Workshops at the CSWM compost education centres in the Comox Valley and Campbell River will show participants how to make a worm bin just for kitchen scraps. The workshops will be at the CSWM’s compost education centre in Campbell River on Saturday, August 11 at 10 a.m. and the CSWM’s Comox Valley compost education centre on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m.

“Discarded food scraps make up about 34 per cent of the weight of an average residential garbage can,” said Koreen Gurak, CVRD’s manager of communications. “Composting those scraps reduces the amount of garbage we send to the landfill, and it produces healthy soil that nurtures healthy plants.”

Vermicomposting is a simple process used to convert organic waste into a usable product and can be achieved by setting up a worm bin inside one’s home. The worms don’t eat the leftover kitchen scraps; rather, they eat the bacteria and fungi that are actually eating the food scraps. The intestinal mucus of a worm is an excellent food source for some bacteria. They can thrive and reproduce inside the worm’s body, resulting in far more bacteria emerging from the digestive tract of the worm then were ingested in the first place.

As a result, worm castings provide beneficial microorganisms as well as plant growth hormones and nutrients to the soil. They have been shown to increase seedling germination, enhance growth and in some cases, impart disease resistance to plants.

“I love talking to people about their worm bins and helping them solve any problems,” said Elaine Jansen, compost education educator. “One of my greatest joys is talking to someone who learned how to make a worm bin from one of my workshops and moved on to start up worm bins for relatives and friends.”

Come for the free workshop and begin composting with worms and improve the condition of your soil — watch your gardens come to life. For more information on lawn and garden events, visit our website at www.cswm.ca/composting.The Campbell River compost education centre is at 228 South Dogwood Street, and the Comox Valley location is at 4795 Headquarters Road in Courtenay.

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management service is a function of the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) and is responsible for two regional waste management centres that serve the Comox Valley and Campbell River, as well as a range of transfer stations and smaller waste-handling and recycling facilities for the electoral areas of the CVRD and the Strathcona Regional District. The CSWM service manages over 100,000 tonnes of waste and recycled material and oversees a number of diversion and education programs.

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