Compost

In Manitoba, it's estimated that up to 40 per cent of our waste is organic waste, consisting mainly of leaf and yard waste, food waste and wood waste.

The food and yard waste we create in our homes is a major source of organic material, but organic waste also comes from a variety of industrial, commercial and institutional sources, including:

  • food processing industries
  • grocery stores
  • shopping centres
  • restaurants
  • offices
  • schools
  • hospitals

The good news is that most of this waste can be efficiently recycled through composting, which is nature's way of recycling. Composting turns organic waste into a valuable soil amendment, rich in nutrients, which can be used to aid plant growth and help soil retain moisture.

When organic materials are harvested from the soil, important soil nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, are also removed. Applying mature compost to soil helps to restore those nutrients, increasing soil health and fertility. It's so good for gardens that gardeners fondly refer to compost as Black Gold.

Here are some other Benefits of Composting:

  • It extends the life of our landfills. Studies show that diverting organic waste from landfills to compost facilities can dramatically extend the lifespan of our landfills. Since new landfills are very costly to build, there are significant economic benefits to keeping our current landfills operating as long as possible.
  • It improves waste diversion. In 2012, Manitoba's organics diversion rate was only 20 kilograms per person, lagging far behind the national organic diversion rate, which was 72 kilograms per person. Manitoba's goal is to divert 100,000 tonnes of organics annually, which is an average of 82 kilograms per person. In 2015, the total reported organics diversion for registered Manitoba Compost Support Program facilities was 48,000 tonnes. So we have a ways to go to reach our goal.
  • It reduces greenhouse gases and odours from landfills. When organic waste is added to a landfill, the organic material breaks down, and as it decomposes, it can give off an odour that is considered offensive to surrounding neighbourhoods. It also produces methane and other gases, which, if released into the atmosphere, can be harmful to the environment.
  • It reduces the cost of processing waste. When we deliver waste to our landfills, we need to add soil to cover that waste. This is done on a daily basis, and the labour and equipment costs are substantial. So the more waste that we can divert through activities like recycling and composting, the more we can reduce the cost of treating that waste, which benefits every Manitoba taxpayer.
  • It creates green jobs, right here in Manitoba. Compost processing and marketing compost products show great job potential. In addition, compost use industries like horticulture, landscaping and agriculture, are predicted to grow as more compost becomes available. It's estimated that every 10,000 tonnes of organic waste composted, instead of going to a landfill, will create seven new jobs.