If you have been living in Edmonton for a period of time, you may already know this: Edmonton has a world-class waste management system. The City of Edmonton is committed and passionate about reducing our environmental impact and carbon footprint. Right now, we divert close to 60 per cent of our solid waste from the landfill through recycling and composting. We have the highest diversion rate in Canada. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the City of Edmonton hopes to convert 30 per cent of the landfill waste into biofuels by 2015, which means in a couple of short years, only 10 per cent of our total waste will be going into the landfills.
And of course, the success of our waste management system would not be where it is today without the participation of Edmontonians. Most of us do the curbside recycling. Many of us even make the effort to go to the Eco-Stations and the ReUse Centre. Some of us even compost.
And then there are the Master Composter Recyclers (the MCR), who take waste management to the next level! They are leaders recycling, composting, and reducing waste. They love talking “trash!” MCR are passionate about educating friends, family, neighbours and community members on how to better handle our waste. They are the city’s Waste Management ambassadors, attending events, schools, and tradeshows to make presentations and demonstrations. All on a volunteer basis.
What is the City of Edmonton Master Composter Recycler Program?
Master Composter Recycler Program is a free program offered by the City of Edmonton to train individuals on how to compost, recycle and reduce waste going into the landfill. It was started in 1991 and is still going strong today. Over 700 residents have participated in Edmonton’s Master Composter Recycler Program.
Volunteers are given a 40-hour training session in waste management, including topics on: reuse, recycling, grasscycling, composting and more! In return, volunteers will commit to at least 35 hours teaching fellow Edmontonians what they have learned. There are many ways to do this. Volunteers can: attend tradeshows or other events, give worm composting presentations at schools, teach friends, family and neighbours how to compost, write articles for the City of Edmonton Master Composter Recycler blog, and more! The ways to give back are endless! And the best part is that volunteers can choose how and when to give back.
The classes take place in March/April. While the 2013 classes are filled, interested individuals can go to this website to submit their applications for the 2014 intake.
5 Reasons to Become a Master Composter Recycler:
- Free hands-on training! At the end of the program, you will become an expert in waste management! It’s something you’ve always wanted, right? And did I mention it was free?
- Fun Field Trips! As part of the MCR program, volunteers have the opportunity to tour Edmonton’s Waste Management facilities, Eco-Stations, the Reuse Centre, and other cool places.
- Meet other passionate, like-minded people. And if you are single, you may meet the love of your life!
- Learning opportunities! Master Composter Recyclers receive weekly newsletters from the City of Edmonton. It’s an excellent resource for waste management information and news. Volunteers will also be the first to hear about exciting events and even employment opportunities!
- Parties! Volunteers are invited out to social gatherings and events to talk “trash” or whatever.
Meet a Master Composter Recycler
Meet Suzanne Dennis. She completed the Master Composter Recycler Program in 2012 and has been educating and inspiring members of the community to rethink our waste habits ever since. As a passionate MCR, she has made the 3Rs her daily mantra: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. Specifically, her goal this year is to not generate any garbage. Sounds impossible? Not for Suzanne. She has made her no-garbage pledge a way of life, and doing everything she can to help the environment.
She affectionately calls herself the “bag lady” because she can be found toting large bags on the bus. She has taken it upon herself to collect items from her housing co-op that would otherwise be thrown out and to take them to the ReUse Centre in downtown Edmonton. She has been doing this since January 2013 and has so far diverted 31 kgs of waste from the landfill! As well, in her spare time, she makes lunch kits, containing a reusable hankerchief and utensils in a container (that can also double as a plate!) and gives them away to friends and family. Her goal is to see every Edmontonian with one of these kits.
Follow Suzanne on Twitter at @redworm_mama. She can hook you with free worms for worm composting! Speaking of worm composting, did you know there is a worm composting bin at the Underground Parking, Level P1 at City Hall? It is a demonstration site and is maintained by MCR volunteers. Check it out sometime!
So as you can see, Master Composter Recyclers are just regular people that are passionate about waste management! You too, can be a MCR!
**Giveaway Alert! ** Suzanne was also kind enough to give one of our lucky readers one free visit & purchase to the ReUse Centre. The first person to comment on this post will win the gift certificate!