During October last month the Edison SJ Green Team (ESJGT) hosted a series of four workshops presented by a team of Rutgers Environmental Stewards (RES), entitled: Too Good to Waste: A Backyard Composting Pilot Project. The focus of the workshop was Best Practices for Residential Kitchen Waste Composting.
The RES workshop presenters were Esther Barcun (ESJGT Member and RES Intern) and Varsha Majrekar (RES Intern, Master Gardener Intern, Certified Composter), with contributions by Tejasi Raghuprasad (JP Stevens HS Student and RES Intern) and Meher Bhatia (JP Stevens HS Student). Other supporters included the Metuchen Environmental Commission and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
Three of the RES workshops were presented at branches of the Edison Free Public (EPL North Edison Branch 10/10/19; EPL Main Library 10/21/19; EPL Clara Barton Branch 10/19/19), with the fourth and final workshop presented at the Metuchen Senior Citizen Center on 10/23/19. Approximately 30 attendees from the Greater Edison area attended the presentations. (Edison, Metuchen, Highland Park, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Woodbridge).
The RES workshops included Power Point presentations, as well as informational hand-outs with basic tips and information for getting started with Residential Composting. The RES Interns administered brief questionnaires before and after the power point presentations to assess the level of understanding that was gained and the misconceptions dismissed as a result of the new knowledge.
The results were positive, indicating that folks who never composted before were willing to try it themselves or contribute to a community site. Of those who have been composting for a while, many were willing to accept the food waste of others to keep it out of the landfill. Participants were satisfied and pleased with the useful information gained from the presentations.
Residential kitchen waste makes up about 25% of the solid waste deposited in landfills. Composting turns it into a nutrient-dense soil enhancer instead of garbage headed to landfills, where it creates methane – a potent greenhouse gas. It also saves money for communities by eliminating tipping fees from landfills that would have otherwise been charged for the deposit of kitchen waste at those locations.