How an Office Compost Program is Helping Reduce Greenhouse Gasses

April 22, 2023
A drawing of a large neon sign that reads open with a an arrow pointing to a green compost bin

324 pounds will not save the world, but it’s a start. That’s how Nicholas Smith, Director of Business Enablement, and fellow Alert Labs employees interpret the amount of paper and organic waste that has been successfully diverted from landfills since the Alert Labs compost program started in August 2022. 

When Nicholas first investigated how the water and A/C intelligence company headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario, could further improve environmental efforts after some significant recycling wins, it seemed like composting at the office just wasn’t possible.

Through some internet sleuthing, however, Smith discovered Kitchener Clean, a company that makes office composting easy by hauling away green bins once or twice a week.

6.7 million tonnes of organic waste are produced each year by businesses in Ontario.

CEO of Kitchener Clean, Derrick Carroll, explains that the biggest barrier is not the behavioural change required, it’s overcoming some of the common myths around composting at the office.

“Many people think the green bin will smell bad, but employees are pleased to discover that isn’t true. There’s also the misconception that composting will be a whole lot of work. But services like our ultimate office composting program make the process much easier,” says Carroll.

Making composting easier is important when you consider that 6.7 million tonnes of organic waste are produced each year by businesses in Ontario alone. All that waste takes up valuable space in already overcrowded landfills. When paper and organic waste break down, they release methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere

Carroll also offers these tips to businesses when setting up a compost program:

  • Messaging is important. Employees need just a bit of information about composting. It’s pretty straightforward. 
  • Signage is also important with pictures of what can go in the bin. 
  • Top-down ownership. The executive management at the business has to support the program for it to be successful. 
  • Don’t forget that paper towels should be composted. The volume of paper towels is huge.

“I’m really proud of my fellow co-workers for making a seamless transition to these green bins. Everybody puts paper towels and food scraps in them. Actions like these add up to have a big environmental impact. It's important for businesses to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and divert as much waste as possible from landfills,” says Smith.

The composting initiative is part of an ongoing effort by Alert Labs, a certified B corporation, to promote more eco-friendly business practices.

If your business is located in Waterloo Region or Guelph, visit the Kitchener Clean website for more information about starting a composting program.

The AlertAQ™ platform has helped building owners and operators save over 5,000,000,000 gallons of water and prevent over 40,000 tons of CO2eq emissions.