Ontario’s next step towards waste free province


Did you know that, on average, every Ontarian produces more than 850 kilograms of waste every year? For the past 10 years, residents have only recycled about 25% of their waste, meaning that over eight million tonnes of waste is being sent to landfill each year.

In an effort to improve these numbers, the government announced details about Ontario’s Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy this past spring. This new initiative outlines the province’s plan to fight climate change by reducing landfilled materials that could otherwise be reused, recycled, composted and reintegrated into the economy. The Waste-Free Ontario Act will make it mandatory to separate food and other organics from the waste stream with municipalities told to implement programs by the end of 2018. This means that families will need to start being more diligent about recycling and composting in their homes in the very near future.

The good news? Composting is easy! You can find a composting unit in plastic or wood at your local hardware store, or you can make your own. Check online for step-by-step instructions.

Here are some tips for ensuring that you have success with backyard composting:

1. Place your composter in a dry, shady accessible location (remember, you can use it during summer and winter).

2. Add your compost material in alternating layers of greens and browns. Greens are kitchen scraps, such as vegetables, fruit, tea bags, coffee grounds and crushed eggshells. Browns are leaves, grass clippings, cut-up twigs, sawdust and shredded paper products.

3. Occasionally you may need to add water. Your compost should be damp, but not soaking wet.

4. Add a layer of soil every so often. This will introduce micro-organisms that will help break down the material and deter insects.

5. Add air. Every month or so, turn the compost well. Some composters are even mounted on frames that allow for easy turning.

For a backyard composter, avoid any fish, meat, dairy products, fats or oils. These materials may attract pests. If your area has a green bin system, these materials are still fine for pickup. After a few months, your compost will be ready for your garden. Its nutrient-rich qualities will keep your plants healthy and happy while reducing your household waste.

Happy composting!

Jennifer Birch – Realtor

Closing up your cottage


September has arrived and, while we’re still enjoying warm, sunny days, the end of summer is inevitable and it will soon be time to close up the cottage for the frosty winter season. There are also a number of tasks that recreational property owners need to tackle in order to protect their cottage from the elements, wildlife and would-be thieves.

• Before turning off the electricity, go room to room to turn off and unplug all electrical devices.


• Drain the plumbing system to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

• Drain the water tank. Remember to turn off the power supply to the water heater before draining to avoid damage to the heating element.

• Leave the refrigerator door open slightly to avoid nasty smells come springtime. Be sure to remove all food from the cottage.

• Lock windows or board them and safely secure all entry points. Pay close attention to patio doors (use a security bar) and beef up your deadbolt and entry doors if they haven’t been replaced in decades.

• Remove all valuable possessions from your cottage. Prepare for the worst – do not keep jewelry, pricey electronics, family heirlooms or expensive artwork in your cottage during the off-season.

• Turn to any neighbours who remain up north all year long and ask them to keep an eye on your property and do a closer inspection every so often.

• Store boats, jet skis, paddle boats and any other recreational ‘toys’ in a secure, locked building. Add a couple motion-activated lights, which might help scare off unwanted visitors.

• A security system is an excellent deterrent to would-be thieves. Do some research to find out if there is a local monitoring station that covers your area.

By taking a few easy steps at the end of the season, you can ensure that your cottage will be just as you left it when you return next summer!

Jennifer Birch – Realtor