Winners of Compost Challenge Announced

Over 3,000 pounds of organic waste collected during friendly competition

Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 20, 2016 — The winners of the inaugural Compost Winnipeg Downtown Challenge have been announced. The Most Enthusiastic Team is HTFC Planning and Design; the Best Compost Champion is Ryan Epp of ft3; the Heavyweight Champion is University of Manitoba’s Dining Services at the Bannatyne Campus; and the draw prize winner is Alara Matsyk of Prairie Architects.

The Downtown Challenge was a friendly composting competition for registered offices and organizations in the downtown area. Twenty-two participating locations were set up with compost bins on Earth Day, and Compost Winnipeg staff weighed and collected the organic waste at each location for two weeks.

"It's really eye-opening and motivating to see the amount of compostable organics our office had previously been wasting," says Leah Defoort of HTFC Planning and Design, the office that won the Most Enthusiastic Team award. HTFC staff began composting in October, and diverted over 60 pounds of organic waste from the landfill during the Downtown Challenge.

Ryan Epp, winner of the Compost Champion award, was nominated by colleague Marcela Karsin, who noted that “his enthusiastic smile has been instrumental to the success of the composting program at ft3.” Staff have been composting at ft3 since 2005, and eagerly share stories about Epp’s dedicated commitment to waste diversion.

“I was really impressed with the response we got from downtown offices,” says Compost Winnipeg’s Project Manager Kelly Kuryk. “They completely embraced the idea of composting at work.” Assiniboine Credit Union’s offices at 200 Main Street started with one compost collection bin, and staff responded so favourably that Manager of Environmental Sustainability Dennis Cunningham had to request seven more.

Compost Winnipeg staff have now collected 17,315 pounds of organic waste since they began piloting the project in August, surpassing their goal of reaching 15,000 pounds by the conclusion of the Downtown Challenge. University of Manitoba Dining Services’Bannatyne Campus was the winner of the Heavyweight Champion award, contributing over 1,000 pounds alone during the two-week challenge.

“We have waste segregation but nobody collects it for composting,” says Grace Bordon-Buan, Operations Manager at the Bannatyne Campus, adding that composting is something they are “definitely willing to do again in the future.”

“I had a number of reports of people policing garbage bins to make sure food scraps and used paper towels ended up in the compost bin,” remarks Kuryk. With registered participants challenging other locations to out-compost them, and a few businesses signing up after the Challenge began even though they were ineligible for prizes, Compost Winnipeg staff plan to organize another Downtown Challenge next year.

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