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Choosing to Compost

Waking Up

It's 2022 and our planet is suffering.

British Columbia had one of the worst wildfire seasons seen this past summer. When our son was born, it was 47 degrees outside. The air was so hot and dry, I remember feeling like I couldn't breathe. We weren't able to take our baby outside more than once or twice in his first 2 months of life due to air quality advisories. That smoky summer was followed by mass flooding in the fall that destroyed several major highways out of Vancouver. There's no denying that humans are having a negative impact on the global climate. I've known this for years, we all have. I learned about climate change in high school, but I never really thought that I would see the devastating effects in my lifetime, and selfishly, I chose to not consider those who would come after me. Like I said, having a child has snapped me out of my own little bubble but Mother Nature isn't really allowing us to ignore her either. She is raging and I'm finally listening.

I've always considered myself environmentally conscious, but since becoming a mother, I have realized that I haven't been doing as much to help protect the Mama Earth as I could and should be. I want to make a difference and I want to be a part of the solution, no matter how small that part might be. I want to be the best human I can be for my son, and model for him what caring for the planet looks like.

One way that I know I can do that, is by reducing my food waste.

Food Waste in Canada

Before starting my composting journey I learned that Canada is one of the world's largest contributors of food waste. Each year, Canada as a whole wastes about 2.2 million tonnes of food, with much of that coming directly from our households. An average Canadian consumer throws away approximately 375lbs of food each year. Read that again. 375 pounds of food. Wasted.

When I read this, I felt a sinking feeling deep in my gut, because I knew that I was guilty, that I have been part of the problem and I knew I had to make a change to live according to my values.

Composting in Kelowna

There are several ways to reduce your food waste. The easiest is to avoid buying more food than you can eat. Most of the food waste I was producing was expired products and produce that had gone bad sitting in my fridge. Now I make meal plans and I only shop for a few days at a time, to make sure that I use everything that I buy before going back to the store for more.

Another way, is to compost the food waste that is inevitably produced, such as food scraps.

I've attempted composting twice before, and failed miserably, due to a lack of research and laziness. But reducing my food waste has become something that is really important to me, so I'm making sure that this time, I get it right.

Unfortunately the city that I live in (Kelowna, BC) does not have a composting program where they will come to your house and pick up your composted products, like they do for garbage and recycling. However, there are multiple private companies who will pick up your composting for a fee.

One that I came across was LC Compost based out of Lake Country will pick up compost and/or recycling from your home once a week for $25 per month. Items that you can compost include: veggies, eggshells, fruits, cardboard, paper napkins, coffee grounds and even dryer lint. They do not accept compost containing meat, bones, fish or dairy, etc.

The other great option that I found was through one of my favourite stores in Kelowna, Chickpeace Refillery. For just $1 you can bring your compost to their store location and they do the rest! The best thing about this option is that they will accept items such as: meat, fish, dairy, cooked food scraps, expired dry goods, and condiments as well as a wide variety of paper products.

*Find links to full lists of acceptable products of both companies at the bottom of this post*

I made sure to purchase a proper composting bin from Chickpeace. It's a basic container with an easy opening lid and handle. I also bought 100% biodegradable compost bags, I find these really help with keeping the container clean and reducing odour. The container is also small enough that I can keep it on the kitchen counter, that way it's right where I'm chopping my veggies or dealing with dinner scraps. It's in my line of vision so it helps to remind me to not throw items in the trash.

So far, we've been pretty successful. We probably have to empty the bin once every week or so, sometimes we can make it two weeks. Of course sometimes we feel inconvenienced that we have to physically take our compost to the store and it's another stop while we're out doing errands, but taking care of the planet isn't about convenience. Living convenient lifestyles is actually what got us in this whole mess in the first place, so we have to be willing to do what might be inconvenient for us, to be better humans.

I'm really enjoying it and I feel a lot better knowing that my food waste is going to be repurposed rather than end up in the landfill.

This is my first step towards living a more conscious lifestyle, and once I get the hang of this, I'll be adding more changes into my daily life!

If you're curious about composting, I'll link a few helpful websites below!

Resources Mentioned

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