Not all that many years ago, people in Newfoundland and Labrador put organic scraps to good use as a matter of course.
From feeding pets to creating compost, organic matter was a valuable part of the household ecosystem. It had somewhere to go where its value was optimized.
Over time with decreasing reliance on backyard farming, commercial food for pets, and household waste pick-up, its value is often wasted.
Today organic material makes up 30-40% of our household garbage, contributing a significant portion of what goes into landfills, greenhouse gases and global warming.
Local company Planeet Consulting is helping communities regain control of their organic materials. Planeet Founder Viviana Ramírez-Luna is an environmental scientist, a Zero Waste TRUE Advisor and Project Director Georgestown Community Composting Program.
She says, "Composting is an ancient practice that humans have used to enrich soils for growing food. In big cities, composting is a scaled operation that relies on high population density—even though the compost quality is deficient due to contamination. In Newfoundland and Labrador, we focus on backyard bins, but they don't work for every household. The middle ground solution is community composting."
Inspired by Georgestown Community Compost in St. John's, Planeet Consulting is equipped to share small-scale composting with neighbourhoods and communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Small-scale composting is happening successfully in communities worldwide, primarily because it's a low-cost, low-tech, low-risk effort that empowers people and creates meaningful jobs and compost to produce food. Economically, it reduces transportation costs and tipping fees for municipalities.
A social enterprise, Planeet is committed to helping organizations, individuals, municipalities, and community gardens across Newfoundland and Labrador grow community composting. They're a crucial player in the Cooperative Community Composting Network.
Viviana says 'Our mission is to grow the Cooperative Community Composting Network across the province and support its goals towards a greener economy, cleaner environment, and healthy and thriving communities. Every community is different so we can tailor our approach to each program based on space, human resources, funding, and neighbourhood goals.
The desire for a sustainable future is the foundation of Planeet. Viviana supplemented her environmental science background with a Certified Zero Waste TRUE Advisor certification through Green Business Certification. She launched the company in 2019 to help Newfoundland and Labrador businesses start their waste-reduction journeys and position the province for a healthier future.