How to treat organic waste on a septic system | Composting | What you can do | David Suzuki Foundation
Photo: How to treat organic waste on a septic system

Using a garburator on a septic system puts a lot of organic waste into the tank. (Credit: loblolly pine via Flickr)

The garburator and the landfill are equally bad ideas for your organics.

Many cities, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, recommend that people on septic systems avoid using a garburator because it will put too much organic waste into your tank. This means you'll have to pump out your septic more often, which will increase your costs.

I recommend composting. You can try backyard composting, or indoor composting.

Vermicomposting is ideal for small spaces and can be done indoors—under the sink, in the garage or in a spare room. Discard organic matter generated in your kitchen—like banana peels—by feeding it to worms. The result is a fertile mixture of decomposed food scraps and worm poop.

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East coasters can check out Halifax Garden Network to walk you through Worm Composting 101, or contact the Ecology Action Centre. Most Canadian cities also have local vermicomposting champions or organizations that sell worms and worm bins or will show you how to build one, like the Compost Education Centre in Victoria.

A second option is bokashi composting. It's different from outdoor composting because it turns food scraps into fertilizer via fermentation. Bokashi means fermented organic matter in Japanese. A select group of microorganisms anaerobically (without air) ferment the organic waste. Apparently, they will also break down things like meat, fish and cheese.

Another idea, if you live in the countryside, is to canvass your neighbours about setting up and investing in an animal-proof composter. Perhaps it could live near a community garden, or maybe your city or town could start a composting location on public property.

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