Composting usually is thought of as a suburban gardener’s habit. But can office and commercial buildings compost? Yes, in fact they may be in the best position to do so.

Why? Based on the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) recent statistic 35% of our landfill is compostable organic matter. This means that a good part of the staff lunchroom garbage bin isn’t ‘garbage’. The ‘why’ should is obvious. But here are more reasons:

  • The garbage collection bill will be less
  • Creates opportunities to clear your office fridge of all those ‘what-is-that?’ leftovers
  • This can nourish a earth-friendly culture in the office

Compost is by definition “organic material used as a plant fertiliser.”

Organic biological kitchen waste, rotten food and leftovers from cooking, prepared for composting. Egg shells, pumpkin, banana and carrot peel.
Can you find organic waste in your office space?

Items you can compost:

  • Fruit peelings
  • Teabags
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Bread
  • Office plant trimmings or dead leaves
  • more…

How to get things going? It will be important to give importance to staff education. We all know what happened when ‘Penny’ (you know, the earth friendly person at work) set up the colour coded recycling bins. It was great at the beginning. But ‘Matt’ never caught on. He still puts paper in the cans bin.

So, well-labelled colour-coded bins can help. But you may want to add some humour to the signs…make if fun. Ultimately it is better to have a few misplaced compostable items go in the garbage bin than having to pick out garbage from the decaying compost bin. So maybe it would be smart to keep the bins in different locations. That way, those that compost will do it right, and those that don’t won’t sabotage the plan.

An odourless plan. Compost is decaying mater, there is no way around it. So the smell and rodent attraction could become a problem. So you can choose from two options:

  • Disposable bins: These containers are made of compostable material, so you can dispose of it when your done. They could cost around $20 for a set of 10 small bins.
  • Reusable bins: There are both smaller indoors and larger outdoor versions, usually made of plastic. A compostable bag liner is usually used.

Did you know: Some municipalities offer rebates on composting bins, as they want to encourage the practice. For example the RDNO offered a $30 rebate from March 17 to September 30, 2015. They also offered a free workshop to give tips. Keep in touch with your municipality for offers.

Where to take it. Paid compost collection services can be used.  Another option is to have a staff member in charge of dropping off the weeks compost to the municipal official collection location. But the best option may be to use it. If the office has a outdoor garden, make the plants pop with life by placing it in the ground. You might want to investigate more about the use of compost in gardening…. we are struggling to keep our indoor plants alive, so we are not the experts in that area.

Do you have any composting tips? Start composting now and let us know how it’s going.