Edmonton Master Composter Recycler Program 2013

“If you’ve seen one compost you’ve seen one compost”
– Mark Stumpf-Allen

Over the next two months I will be sharing my experience with the Edmonton Master Composter-Recycler Program. Maybe it will inspire somebody to learn more about composting. Maybe a few people will discover more about recycling. Perhaps more than one reader will find something here that they can take away and use in their own community.


When I told my friends that I planned to take the City of Edmonton Master Composter-Recycler Program they teased me that I was finally getting my Masters Degree in something. I wish.

No, the course won’t give me extra letters to put behind my name. It will, however, give me a heck of a lot of knowledge about waste management and the ability to share that knowledge with the others.

The goal of the program is to train “ambassadors” for the city’s waste management department.  More than 700 Master Composters have been trained since the program began 20+ years ago. Graduates become volunteers trained in all aspects of the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle, and commit to spending a minimum of 35 hours teaching others what they’ve learned through the program.

This year’s class consists of about 30 people from all over the city. On the first day of our 40 hour course we had an opportunity to introduce ourselves. We are a diverse group of people with all sorts of backgrounds. Some people had formal training in conservation biology and environmental studies. Many grew up on farms where sustainability was simply a part of their life. Some came from other countries where composting is (or isn’t) integrated into their native culture. Many of the participants have children and are interested in teaching them the importance of conservation practices.

Everyone seemed to be like-minded: making improvements to the way we reduce, reuse and recycle our waste is important to all of us. Maybe we all have different reasons to do so, but the goal is the same: help Edmonton become more sustainable in its waste practices.

We all want both the knowledge the course offers as well as to learn how to disseminate the information to others in our communities. Volunteerism brings together the most interesting people; I can tell already that this is going to be a great experience.

We have an amazing line-up of educators who will be working with us over the next several weeks in class, on tours and during hands on activities:

Rodney Al, coordinator of the composter-recycler program
Laura Henderson, assistant to the program
Garry Spotowski and Neil Burkard, education program coordinators for the waste management center
Mark Stumpf-Allen, compost programs coordinator
Allan Yee, waste management engineer

Feel free to follow along with me and my class, and don’t forget to ask lots of questions!


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