When we refer to organic waste, we are speaking about those items in our garbage bins that can decompose easily such as vegetable peels. On average, 22% of the materials in our four major landfills are organics. Their decomposition produces carbon dioxide and methane, which are two major greenhouses gases. Of greater concern, is that methane is highly flammable and as such, encourages landfill fires, which burn other toxic chemicals including carcinogenic pollutants.
Two communities, supported by the Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP, have recently created new and exciting options for individual households to reduce the organic waste in our major landfills. The two grantees are the Cashew Gardens Community Council (CGCC) and the Central Pathfinders Environmental Foundation (CPEF).
CGCC successfully completed the country’s first community-led composting project in which compost from 16 households were collected over a 4 month-period and converted into compost, which is used in the community garden. This pilot is also the first community circular economy for composting in the country and it resulted in the diversion of 510lbs or over 200kg of organic waste from our landfills. The community had indicated that the interest in the composting project is growing, with temples and food establishments now providing material to their composters.
CPEF also contributed to solving our organic waste in our landfills with the development of an urban composter which they call “Captain Turner”. This composter is designed to fit a small kitchen space and allows households to convert their own waste into compost in less than 2 months. The composter will now be sold locally to households and marketed as another avenue through which households can positively contribute to the reduction of our carbon emissions.
Both CGCC and CPEF recently presented their work at the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association Conference, held in October of this year. Their papers can also be accessed from: https://cwwa.net/cwwa-conference-and-exhibition-2021/thank-you-for-attending-the-2021-conference/.
GEF SGP is especially proud of the CGCC’s work which received two awards at the CWWA conference namely the Ronald Williams Award for Technical Excellence and The People’s Choice Awards for Technical Presentation.
The fight against climate change begins with making small behavioural changes at the household level, which when collated results in bigger impacts for the country. The implementation of community or household composting, as offered by these two GEF SGP projects, provides citizens of this country with the opportunity to contribute to solving climate change directly.
A small step like composting at home can make big impacts, so start composting today!