Frequently asked questions
What materials does CG accept for composting?
We only accept organic materials for composting – in other words, material that was once living. Examples include:
Is the product tested to ensure it’s safe before being offered to the public
What kind of testing is done to ensure regulations are followed at the site?
We conduct all testing that is required by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP). For example, groundwater monitoring is conducted by independent, third-party engineering consultants. The consultants have never found significant findings. We regularly, voluntarily monitor and sample for hydrogen sulphide (H2S), which is a common product of composting processes and is the main indicator of concern on compost sites. There have been no detections of H2S off-site.
Does the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test CG’s compost?
Yes. The CFIA regularly tests compost from all licenced compost producers, including Cleanit Greenit. These efforts are focused on verifying that products satisfy the safety standards for biological and chemical contaminants (pathogens, heavy metals, pesticide residues, etc.). Sometimes the CFIA will find the application rate of the compost needs to be adjusted to meet regulatory standards. When this occurs, we change the application rate (the ratio of compost mixed with soil) on our product labels.
How does the composting process help kill viruses?
Composting is a heat-generating and biological process that effectively kills negative microbes and pathogenic viruses, similar to COVID-19, during the process. Research indicates that the use of composting, as one means of disposal during emergencies, is not only effective in deactivating pathogens, but also limits the risk of air pollution contamination (reference link http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/effectiveness-of-composting-lit-review.pdf). Landfills, where most of our garbage goes, is not a heat-generating or biological process.
What does compost smell like?
Finished compost smells earthy. However, it is possible for it to have a slight hydrocarbon/charcoal smell. This is normal and is caused by the degradation of wood and bark used to make the compost. The compost is also in a sealed bag which causes the smell to build up. Once the bag is opened, the smell will dissipate.
Does the steam rising from composting piles indicate odours being released?
Why did I find plastic in my compost?
Our compost is produced from residential organic recycling programs. It is possible to have some foreign material in our compost. Regulatory agencies allow for the occasional piece of glass and plastic (both inert materials and have no effect on plant growth). We screen out these materials, but if you do find the occasional piece of glass or plastic, please pick it out and put it in the garbage.
What is Category A compost?
Cleanit Greenit's NatureMade™ compost has been graded as Category A since 1996. Our compost has been tested against the CCME Guidelines for Compost Quality. Category A compost can be used in any application, such as agricultural lands, residential gardens, horticultural operations, the nursery industry and other businesses.
Why is my compost slightly wet and/or clumpy?
The compost was double screened, but because we are an outdoor facility we are exposed to the elements, including precipitation. When wet, the compost may clump together. The clumps are made of 100% compost, not clay. The clumps will not affect plant growth. If you find clumps, water them until they break down.
What is compost normally used for in residential gardens and how do I use it?
Compost, mixed with soil, can be used in your garden beds, potted plants and lawns. It's especially great for growing tomatoes and greener grass.
What is boron and why can it be found in compost?
Is it possible to find petroleum hydrocarbons (including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in compost?
Are there metals in our compost?
Can furans, dioxins and other organic contaminants be present in compost?
What height should the piles be at the Cleanit Greenit site?
What is CG doing to reduce smells from its facility?
We are improving our ability to control smells. Key actions include:
Why has CG not complied with the 2011 enforcement order?
Should neighbours be worried about their health from CG composting odours?
What do “odour patrollers” actually do?
Why can’t CG eliminate odours?
How do I report an odour in my neighbourhood that I suspect could be from Cleanit Greenit?
Can I get the results of my odour investigation?
Is Cleanit Greenit reducing the amount of material it accepts?
In 2011, the site held more than 93,000 cubic yards of materials. As of late October 2020, the site held 35,800 cubic yards of material. This significant reduction in material on-site plus the many other changes we have implemented, helps us to better control and prevent odour.
What is the connection between compost amendments and soil-borne plant diseases?
The presence of soil-borne plant diseases in one’s garden or farm will negatively impact the yield and quality of the plants or crops. Compost has been proven to support a more balanced soil microbiome by providing active, organic fuel for beneficial fungi and bacteria colonies. This prevents the overgrowth of harmful, nematode transmitted plant diseases in soil. Just like you may consume yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and other probiotic-rich foods to support a more resilient gut microbiome, your soil can also benefit from compost amendments that foster a diverse and healthy microbiome balance.
Does compost have the ability to improve human health?
There is preliminary science to support that incorporating compost into your garden or farm has the ability to improve your own health in multiple ways. Firstly, by substituting the use of fast acting chemical fertilizers with compost, you eliminate your exposure to potentially carcinogenic compounds. This takes some detoxifying burden off of your liver, and may reduce your risk of cancer. Secondly, the nutrient supplement that compost gives to your backyard garden (think of it like a multivitamin and probiotic), can improve the health of your fruits and vegetables by reducing soil-borne pathogens and improving nutrient uptake in plants, giving you more vitamins per bite. Lastly, hand-mixing compost into your garden’s soil provides a great opportunity to incorporate more microbial diversity into your own body, which helps bolster your immune system and digestive health!
How does applying compost to gardens and farms affect soil quality?
Applying Grade A compost to soil improves its water holding capacity, or the soil’s ability to retain water and prevent dryness and erosion. Compost improves soil structure and reduces bulk density, thus allowing for less soil compaction and greater root penetration. Longer, sturdier roots means healthier plants! The organic matter in compost provides valuable active fuel for beneficial bacteria and fungi within the soil microbiome. A diverse and resilient soil microbiome protects plants from harmful soil-borne pathogens.
Are prions from bovine (cattle, sheep, deer, etc.) that get into compost a concern?
Latest studies show that, after composting this material, “99.9% of the prions had been destroyed” (McAllister, et al., 2013).
Is compost good for my gut?
A: Yes! Eating food that has been grown using compost balances your gut microbiomes, where 80% of your microbes are, and also aids in digestion. Since 1940, important minerals in our food have decreased 30-90% due to use of fertilizers and monofarming (farms growing only one type of large crop). Don’t eat the compost straight from the bag though, it’s still dirt and can contain harmful bacteria.
Reference: G. Munroe (2021, June 17), Preparing the Ground for Healthy Soil: Webinar 5 featuring Soil Health, Plant Health, Human Health in Landscaping, The Compost Council of Canada.
Want to find out how much compost do you need?
Check out this compost calculator
DID YOU KNOW?
During composting micro-organisms convert nitrogen into a less volatile form allowing longer material storage times and the ability to use the compost at your convenience.
Compost encourages healthy plant growth and provides organic matter
Quality finished compost produced is a slow release, nutrient rich material and when added to soil will improve soil structure, texture, aeration and water holding capabilities.
Compost encourages a green and lush lawn.
3 for 30 – 3” of compost reduces 30% of your water needs.
It improves soil aeration for root development.
60% of waste going to landfills is organic and can be composted! By composting, we are able to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and reduce greenhouse gases.
Compost can control soil-borne diseases and insects. The thermophilic temperatures that naturally occur during composting destroy pathogens and weed seeds (just like in milk pasteurization).
Mixing compost with soil will control erosion, increase soil fertility, maintain proper pH balance and promote healthy root development in plants.
Compost has higher nutrient levels than peat moss.