Waste: Composting at Burnaby CampusBCIT has one of Western Canada's oldest, and biggest, composting programs.
Our compost program
Fruit, vegetable waste, and coffee grounds from food preparation at BCIT Burnaby campus cafeterias has been composted on campus since 1998, when 170,000 red wriggler worms were bought by BCIT and the Student Association (that's over 170 lbs of worms!). Over 2,180 litres (six 96-gallon containers) of compost were harvested in 2008, and similar amounts are harvested every April and mixed with topsoil to fertilize campus flowerbeds. Seedlings with BCIT "black gold" dirt have also been given away at Earth Day and Open House celebrations on campus.
Inside the compost bins, red wriggler worms digest the composting materials, and produce castings, which are the richest natural fertilizers. Worm, or vermi-composting is preferable over standard composting:
- Decomposition is faster, so vermi-compost works in apartments and small composts.
- Worm compost has greater nutrient levels and greater microbial populations: a tablespoon provides organic plant nutrients to feed an 8-inch potted plant for over two months.
- Earthworms can destroy pathogens including salmonella, E-coli, and parasitic worm eggs; they can mine heavy metals from the soil, and are the most effective natural cleaning agent known.
- The production of methane, a greenhouse gas, is reduced; methane might otherwise be released by the decomposing organic matter.
Anyone can drop off full compost containers and take away empty ones from the SE-12 loading dock. Some department lunchrooms have already started contributing to waste reduction through composting. To get involved, contact BCIT_facilities_management@bcit.ca.
What's compostable: Kitchen: Fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, tea bags and coffee grounds and filters, shredded paper.
Garden: Chopped leaves, dry grass and soft plant stems, old soil.
What's not compostable: Meat, fish, bones, fats and oils, sauces, dairy products (cheese, etc.), plastics, metals, pet waste.