Wednesday August 17, 2011


Residential Composting

7 ideas that make sense

Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack


wrote to an environmental forum for consideration of the pros and cons of garburators in a tiny condo kitchen. My question is followed by two cons with the recommendation of two kinds of under the sink composting methods.


Both are too large for a tiny kitchen and the cost of about $200 to install and $50 monthly to maintain, is more than a poor pensioner can afford. Many do not have a balcony or available back or front yard. Condo presidents and neighbors are highly opposed.

1. There is nowhere to take kitchen waste. My strata bylaws won't allow composting for fear of smell, raccoons, flies, ants and crows. Ants have deteriorated some of our beams. Will someone please tell me if I should buy and install a garburator. I keep asking and not getting answers. Myrtle Macdonald, Consultant retired, Chilliwack BC, Canada. <>

2. A garburator is definitely not the way to go. See this link: 

From Nancy Webber; Program Development/Coordinator, Clean Nova Scotia. Canada
Why don't you set up a small vermicomposting bin in your kitchen? It can go under the sink. We have one at work and it doesn't stink or cause any problems.

3. From Sue Jarvis; Lincoln Envirotown Trust, New Zealand
Don't use a garburator! What about a bokashi bucket? Look at 

4. Note: re the Bokashi method of pickling by fermentation. Surely that is similar to fermenting of sauerkraut or old fashioned dill pickles in crocks. They do smell and bubble over, and were long ago rejected by neighbors.

5. The Vermicomposting method may be enjoyable and educational for children, as the web site suggests, but worms are not pleasing to elders and disabled people. Besides they cannot lift, carry and empty the big bucket somewhere. The Bokashi bucket needs to be emptied into a back yard trench. Who is going to dig that, lift the big bucket and maintain the trench?

6. Wikipedia has an excellent article on Garburators. The section on Environmental Impact is commendable and it is backed with a long list of research references. Very little energy or water are used. Very little waste residue is produced, it is safe for garden fertilizer and the carbon impact is good.

7. The third possibility is a larger bin for all condo residents to empty their kitchen waste, picked up by City trucks and replaced by a city-owned clean bin weekly. The emptying and washing should be done in a city facility. That is done in Olympia I think.


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