Put a lid on it!

Office Compositing Program at Softchoice

In October 2010, Softchoice started its first composting program in the Toronto office. This idea was something that was talked about for quite some time but was never initiated due to some specific challenges that the Green Team had to face.

For a lot of people, the first things that come to mind when you think of office composting are odor and insects – definitely not something wanted in the office, especially an office of 500+ employees!

After speaking to our waste management vendor, we learned ways that these problems can be completely avoided and keep reluctant co-workers happy.

  1. Use a stainless steel bucket as your countertop composting bucket. This material won’t absorb long lasting odors or even colors from specific vegetables, (like a bleeding red from a beet or radish). It is also very easy to clean, (Dish soap and water will do the trick!) and will last forever.
  2. Choose a stainless steel composting bucket that comes with a lid; this way no smells can seep into the air. A metal “step-can” is also a popular option, allowing a hands-free lidded operation and you can place it right on the floor as opposed to on the countertop.
  3. Use a compost liner. These are relatively inexpensive and will prevent spills when emptying the bucket. Make sure your liners are biodegradable! Another option is to use a plastic shopping bag with a brown paper bag inside.
  4. Post colorful signage explaining what can and can’t be put into the composting container. In our case, we opted out on allowing meats and seafood into the program, (The building management recommended this action to prevent attracting insects).
  5. Lastly, ensure that your counter composting container is being emptied daily. Elect a team member to own this responsibility, have rotating shifts, (per week or month) or add this task to your janitorial crew’s daily checklist.

We initially agreed to a three month trial with our waste management provider and have now extended the contract as we are seeing great results. A key step to ensuring this program works is placement of the bin – keep your composting container in a high traffic area such as a lunchroom or coffee station where you can also post the Composting Do’s and Don’ts on shared bulletin boards.

Our composting program is producing real results – diverting waste from landfills!     Make a difference in your company by helping to offset its carbon footprint, use these tips to help get you started!

About Casey McCarthy

Casey has been a member of the Softchoice Green Team since early 2009, when she was recognized for her contributions to reducing Softchoice's carbon footprint in 2008.