THE CONTRARIAN: Free Compost

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Did you know you can get compost at the landfill, made from our own yard waste, free in quantities you can shovel into your pick up?

I went down to the landfill yesterday and got some.

The pile is thawed now, and the ground dry so you can back right in and fill ‘er up. I was there last spring, and the pile hasn’t shrunk since then as much as I expected.

Perhaps that means that the public isn’t aware of our recycling at the landfill, including the compost pile, so I will try to explain.

Dryden can be very proud of its landfill; it is quite unique, way ahead of its time, all oriented around recycling as much as possible.

This is done by piling unwanted material which does not need to be landfilled in separate ‘laydown areas’ on the landfill property. The public is welcome to come and scrounge in these ‘laydown areas’ for items they can use, and quite a lot is taken away to be reused or repurposed, there are even ‘professional scroungers’ who visit quite often.

There is a ‘laydown area’ for tires, and by collecting tires into workable quantities, Dryden’s tires got recycled at low cost long before the deposit/return system was initiated by the province.

The scrap metal laydown area is cleaned out by contractors occasionally; usually they pay for the material.

There is a laydown area for scrap lumber and building materials; I did an informal survey several times in years past, and found that fully two thirds of the material brought out went back to town to be used for some project, or even just firewood. One guy claimed that some of the pallets were made out of some kind of foreign ‘monkey wood’, hard as flint and with a beautiful grain for high end woodworking.

There is another laydown area for tree branches and such, and yet another for dirt and rocks. But perhaps of most interest, the city piles all the leaves and yard waste up to compost in a low tech way, turning the pile at least once a year.

It takes several years to produce finished compost, while a high tech composting operation does it in a few months, but, hey, we have lots of room out there.

There are contractors with a huge portable shredder capable of reducing a car to small pieces in seconds, and every few years the city gets one to come in and shred up the scrap wood and lumber piles, the resulting little sticks are piled up and will eventually be compost.

While the machine is here they run the yard waste compost pile through it, making a defined pile of reasonably uniform compost which the public is welcome to pick up.

Oh, sure, the odd bit of shredded up garbage bag comes with it, along with some sand and fine stone and even pine cones (apparently they do not compost, they wait for a chance to produce a new pine tree), but over all, it is good stuff, and best of all it is free! So give your lawn and garden a break, and go get some compost made from your own leaves and yard waste!

And while you are there, you can browse the other laydown areas, you might find a set of wheels off an old mower that would be just right for the go-cart you are making, or an old table for your garage, or an old chair to put out by the back fence and watch the sunset from, or who knows. Recycle!

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