Master Composter Programme

composter in gardenBackground

As a largely rural community, residents of the County of Wellington have been composting organics for many years. In the early 1990's, a study done in the Township of West Garafraxa, showed that 81.63% of residents were managing organics through composting. Also at that time, the County trained two of its staff as Master Composters. Composting workshops were held on a regular basis in the 21 member municipalities.

Solid Waste Services has continued to promote composting by selling composters at cost at waste facilities and at a subsidized rate through prior years' truckload sales. Council has approved reinstating the Master Composter programme to further promote backyard composting. The goal is to ensure residents of the County have all of the tools and education required to be successful at managing their organics at home.

Five Key Objectives

  • increase the number of residents actively composting household organics
  • determine the needs of residents in order to be successful at backyard composting
  • create opportunities to illustrate the benefits of using compost on plants, lawns, and gardens
  • create opportunities to partner with others for beautification and food production projects
  • collect data to determine participation in backyard composting in the County


"Back to Our Roots " Composting Workshops

Back to Our Roots composting workshops are offered to residents who want to learn how to divert household organics from landfill.  These workshops are free.  They are designed for both beginners and those who have experience with backyard composting.

There were two workshops held in April 2015. They were held at the Harriston and Rockwood Library Branches. 100% of workshop participants said they would recommend the workshop to others, with an overall 97% satisfaction rate with the workshop. 

Please check back for future workshop dates.

These are some comments from past workshop participants:

  • "Very informative - well worth it!"
  • "Does not seem as difficult as I thought."
  • "I did not realize I could compost grass clippings and shredded paper."
  • "See real value in doing backyard composting."
  • "Putting compost on the grass instead of commercial fertilizer is something I had not thought of doing!"


Workshop Video links

How Composting Works

How to Site a Backyard Composter

How to Deter Pests from Your Compost Pile

How to Aereate Your Compost Bin

How to Harvest and Use Finished Compost 


Workshops and Volunteer Opportunities

If you are interested in becoming involved with any of the following opportunities, please contact SWS with your name, address, phone number and preferred email address.

Diversion Study 2011-2012
SWS worked with a number of volunteers to track the amount of organic material which their household diverts through backyard composting. 19 households started out in the study, and 10 continued for a full year of data tracking.  Residents provided a count of the number of times they emptied their compost bucket each month.  An average weight per litre was used to calculate the amount of kitchen organics diverted by each household. 

Over the year, the participants diverted an average of 218.99 pounds (99.33 kg) per person.  This amount is actually higher than the provincial average of 206.05 pounds (93.46 kg) reported by Waste Diversion Ontario in 2011.  Based on these results, if every person in Wellington County used a backyard composter, over 20 million pounds (9,300 kg) of kitchen organics could be diverted from landfilll each year.

Community Partnership Opportunities
SWS has been in discussions with local horticultural societies to determine interest in partnering to develop demonstration gardens at waste facilities. In the future, SWS hopes to partner with other groups on landscape beautification and food production projects. If you are a member of a community group with similar interests - please contact SWS.