Community composting

Pedal to Petal, which uses bicycles with trailers to go around and pick up people's compost.

These guys are cool! Fed up with watching food and garden waste going to, well, waste, they started a pickup service. It’s called Pedal to Petal, and the whole idea is to help people that want to make sure their food scraps end up somewhere other than landfill.

Pedal to Petal is a cooperative, a group of enthusiasts that decided to made something happen and are getting out there and doing it. They provide local residents with a small bin for kitchen scraps. They then collect the bins by bicycle on a regular basis and compost them using a network of backyard composters.

Currently, they’re collecting from more than 160 households in their little corner of Canada.

“We’re carbon-neutral; arguably, carbon-negative,” says Matt Schultz, a student at the University of Victoria who runs the day-to-day operations of Pedal to Petal with Johnson.

“We’re delighted to see that more and more people no longer find putting compostable material into the landfill garbage stream acceptable,” Schultz says.

Pedal to Petal wants to generate jobs and grow food for low-income people in Victoria. The group gives its compost to gardens that donate food to the community, such as the Haultain Common, a boulevard garden in the Oaklands neighbourhood.

The article talks about the different methods of composting that can be used in an urban setting. They talk about Bokashi but haven’t yet tested the many ways it can work as part of an overall solution. Digging fermented Bokashi into the ground is the standard solution. For people living in apartments, a balcony or cellar “soil factory” can be ideal (see our blog here!), and can be done on an individual or collective basis. Bokashi also works really well incorporated into traditional composting, not only is it a nicer and healthier way of collecting the scraps indoors, it cuts down the frequency of collection needed and makes a hell of a difference to composting speed outdoors.

When it comes to greenhouse gases, traditional composting is not the hero you’d like to think. A lot of methane and co2 is generated from the rotting process and ideally we should be using more carbon neutral solutions that store the carbon. Bokashi scores a 10 on this one as the food-to-soil conversion is done with virtually all of the carbon preserved intact. Where it should be, in the soil and not in the air.

But ultimately, the first step is the big one; whatever form of composting or fermenting or whatnot you decide to use, just get stuck in and do it. Anything that diverts food and yard waste  from landfill and gets it back into the soil is a good thing. And a huge improvement on what we’re doing now.

Not to mention how much we’d all benefit from a little more good old-fashioned community spirit. Good on you, guys!

Read the Canadian article here!

2 thoughts on “Community composting

  1. Great to hear that someone started to offer this collection service! As to the Bokashi (or composting in the soil) Russians have been doing it for decades at their summer gardens. 🙂 as there were hardly any firtilisers available during soviet time, so people turned a food waste into a soil in a special compost pit in their gardens.

    Times changed you can get lots of chemicals (brr) on the market and even buy a packed soil in Russia. But general public keeps making ‘Bokashi’ as it has proven to be great for the plants and for the purse (not sure if there are too concerned about green gases there). 🙂 I guess you may add now the whole nation as ‘Bokashi’ producers and supporters of the composting! 🙂

  2. They are doing a fantastic job. I think they will make up a great eco-garden in a few years. Why don’t they ask for governments grants as an ngo. they will surely get attention.

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