It’s truly the good earth

County class on earthworms helps composters in Hemet

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Checking to see how well the worms have done their job.

■ By Gena Estrin / Contributed

Volunteer master composters offered a special class in vermicomposting (the use of earthworms to convert organic waste into fertilizer) last month to teach county residents how to set up, build, care for, and harvest castings and worms. After the vermicomposting class, there was a hands-on “make your own worm bin” workshop. The class and workshop were free and held at the Hemet Public Library, 300 E. Latham Ave.
Residents of Hemet and other San Jacinto Valley areas learned a new way to compost food waste into nutrient rich amendment for their gardens. They can put worms to work through a composting method called vermicomposting – the process of using worms and associated organisms to break down organic waste into material containing nutrients for plant growth.
These programs are offered to increase the awareness of organic material recycling and how composting can help preserve valuable space in county landfills. This workshop provides a good opportunity to participate in a hands-on class to explore vermicomposting and take home an inexpensive working worm bin.
The mission statement for the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources reads: “To provide for the protection of the general public health and welfare by efficient management of Riverside County’s solid waste system through: provision of facilities and programs which meet or exceed all applicable local, state, federal and land use regulations; utilization of up-to-date technological improvements; development and maintenance of a system that is balanced economically, socially and politically; and economically feasible recovery of waste materials.
It turns out that the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources has many programs and classes available to teach residents about backyard composting, vermicomposting, green cleaning, and recycling. It also teaches classes on proper management of hazardous wastes, community clean-ups, and graffiti abatement, among others. The idea is to share the information with the community at events, fairs, or other opportunities. Let’s face it, good programs become great when you tell other people about them.
Do you like to share good news about beneficial programs for the community? Help educate residents onhow to properly manage waste to benefit the environment. Learn about local programs and share that information with the community. Sign up for a program or class you are interested in, then think about becoming a resource for your local community by providing your neighbors with the information and tools they need to recycle, compost and manage their waste legally and responsibly. As a volunteer, your efforts will help your community and the Riverside County environment! Volunteers are needed to make presentations and assist with classes, workshop activities, and community events.

Recycling
Do you have a love of recycling and want to learn more and be able to share with others? Volunteers are needed to provide an overview of waste and the recycling system in place in Riverside County. We explore where waste goes from the curb and how to properly separate recyclable materials from solid waste. Other topics include, how recycling works, source reduction; buying right; and what options are available for waste that doesn’t belong in your trash, recycling, or green waste bins. Residents will leave with a better understanding of how they can be a part of the recycling solution.

Composting
Composting is simple and fun. Workshops provide an introduction to composting. At the workshop, residents will get an overview of the composting process, how different methods of composting work, and the benefits of each. Residents learn what materials can be used for composting so that it is successful and productive. At the workshops, the county makes low cost compost bins available to Riverside County residents and provides information on how a resident can build their own compost bin.

Vermicomposting
Worms are great for gardening, but do you know what they can do for food waste?
Class teaches residents about vermicomposting, a composting method where worms convert food scraps into two of the best amendments on earth: worm castings, a fancy name for worm poop; and worm tea, a liquid fertilizer derived from either castings or the leachate collected from a worm bin. Residents learn how to care for the worms, make bedding, and harvest a worm bin. The hands-on portion of the class assists participants with making their own worms bins to take home and harvesting worms to start their bin.

Mentoring programs
Volunteers are needed to work with schools to assist and mentor the development of composting or recycling programs for school waste. Volunteers will make presentations and hands-on demonstration as needed. Additional, ongoing mentoring may involve involvement to show students how to sustain the program, harvest completed compost, and use or study the benefits of using composting or vermicomposting in the garden.

Solid waste and sustainability
Trash talkers are needed to help spread the word about how waste is managed in Riverside County. The county manages the efficient and effective landfilling of non-hazardous county waste. The real answer is much more complicated. The county’s public outreach group, which includes you, educates county residents on how to manage their waste in a way that minimizes what actually goes into the landfill and maximizes what gets recycled, reused and properly disposed.
If the county can help increase awareness and provide residents with the information and tools they need to make managing their waste less of an effort, then it is helping them to help the environment. That’s the objective of the county’s public outreach programs and that’s why volunteers are part of the answer. Help build a more sustainable future for Riverside County by sharing information about current programs that help reduce waste and extend the lives of our landfills.
Serving Beaumont, Hemet, San Jacinto and the rest of the San Jacinto Valley, Land Canyon Landfill accepts ABOP (antifreeze, batteries, oil, and paint), plus has a kiosk for sharps (diabetic or other injectable medication or testing needles) that are in sealed hard plastic containers only. The landfill’s hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Lamb Canyon Landfill also offers free to residents partially used household, yard, and vehicle care products in good condition and sometimes even unopened during hours of operation on Saturdays only. Other acceptable hazardous wastes can be properly disposed of at upcoming 2018 Temporary Household Hazardous Waste Collection areas for the San Jacinto Valley. These will be offered Sept. 15 and Dec. 15, 2018, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Lamb Canyon Landfill, 16411 Lamb Canyon Rd, Beaumont 92223.
The next Volunteer Orientation and Training Class will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Riverside County Department of Waste Resources, home office, 14310 Frederick St., Moreno Valley, CA 92553.


For more information on classes, workshops, and volunteer opportunities go to http://www.rcwaste.org/ or wastevolunteer@rivco.org, or contact the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources at 800-304-2226 or 951- 486-3200 or email WasteCompRecyc@rcwaste.org.
Source: www.rcwaste.org and printed materials from RCDWR 2018 Community Outreach

Artist Shaunah Estrin © 2006
A student’s representation of a garden after showing her how to use composting in the garden.

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