Invest in compost definitely came to fruition in the summer of 2013. More than once, I have come across a renovated garden with a sign stating that the bank's noble cause is behind the initiative. Whether it's a few benches, a faucet repair, or the installation of children's play facilities, financial institutions are the most common donors. The latter are increasingly seeking to build their image by participating in green initiatives. These signboards and my interest in the compost of my acquaintances came together in the idea of ​​composting as an opportunity for corporate social responsibility. The original plan was to go around the banks and convince myself of the benefits of the project. That didn't happen. Of course everything had to be approved by the municipality and more specifically by the Green Systems Directorate. Later, the idea developed in reverse. The municipality (CO) had to recognize the project as its own and attract investors. During 2014 I wrote my professional perspective on this and on the project Name Gardens. Thus illustrated, they could now be introduced first to my relatives and acquaintances, and then to the professionals I worked with. 

The project "Invest in compost" is a simple and innovative way to realize directed corporate social responsibility * and mass implementation of composters on the territory of Sofia - a wonderful symbiosis. Participants: Sofia Municipality, CBS, banks. Composters are installed on the territory of the landscaped green areas. The composters are financed by banks that have joined the project. Banks develop social activity without having to invent the initiative themselves. They get their advertising. Parks and gardens get their composters. Society is getting more sustainable waste management and a new perspective on banks. CA implements a social and eco-project, without financial commitment, with the exception of money for advertising… 

From then on, both projects had to reach the attention of the municipality. Single presentation was not desirable. I considered the possibility of the SLA (Union of Landscape Architects) recognizing the projects as their own and presenting them to the CA, but I thought that participating in competitions was the better solution. Zagorka Green Fund program promised to implement the project - the winner of the 2015 competition of the same name. There was now a clear potential investor. I slightly changed and further developed the idea. I later received a letter saying that the project "does not fall within the scope of the competition and its requirements".

BASIC CONCEPTS AND ABBREVIATIONS

Composting is the process of decomposing biodegradable waste under the influence of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms and with sufficient oxygen, moisture and constant temperature.
The composter is simply a device that helps food waste from plant origin, cut grass, noise, weed waste and pruning become manure without threatening the landscape.
Mulching is a process of filling a surface layer of organic matter that seeks to retain moisture in the soil, prevent the appearance of weeds and stabilize the soil temperature. Suitable mulching materials are, for example, wood chips.
The general public service or “green spaces for public use” are parks, gardens and street landscaping.

BACKGROUND

The problem of the disposal of plant waste generated by the maintenance of landscaped areas remains unresolved. The author of this project, as a landscape architect, had the opportunity to get acquainted with it. There are almost no specialized bins for this type of waste. Users of household waste bins near landscaped areas are suffering. The removal of waste to the general landfill is energy-intensive and non-environmentally friendly. For their proper utilization within the settlement it is necessary to build a special and expensive composting installation. It was built for the first time in Sofia under the Operational Program "Environment 2007-2013" as part of the project "Construction of an integrated system of municipal waste treatment facilities in Sofia Municipality".
The numerous benefits of composting today are well known to those skilled in the art. Unfortunately, its practical application is still too limited.

ESSENCE

Invest in Compost is the first project of its kind in Bulgaria for on-site composting of green areas in the settlements of organic, non-domestic waste. No need to be transported to a landfill or to a specialized installation. Invest in compost is also an easy and eco-friendly way to achieve corporate social responsibility through the mass deployment of composters. Composters of a selected type are installed on the territory of the public health service (green areas for general public use). The latter are powered by green waste material (cut grass, weeds, branches). The resulting compost is used locally for fertilization and mulching purposes. The composting activity is carried out by the companies which are engaged in the maintenance of the respective green areas.

GOALS

The utilization of plant waste on site in the landscaped area will achieve the following objectives: reducing waste to landfills, extracting free compost for landscaping, saving water and energy. How to save water and energy? The soil does not lose its nutrients as they return to it when enriched with the compost produced. The more fertile soils, in turn, dramatically increase their moisture capacity and moisture retention. Mulching with tree branches that results from branching, further reduces moisture evaporation and at the same time limits weed development. The latter are a competitor for water. Spending rates for irrigated or mulched fields are lower. Energy is saved through the elimination of the need to transport plant waste and the production and delivery of fertilizers and herbicides.

EXPECTED RESULTS

The project is designed to be implemented by municipal structures and companies with responsible business behavior that want to invest in green campaigns and initiatives. Its realization is of public importance. The implementation of the project will lead to the following socio-economic effects:

- Promotion of the idea of ​​composting in OPSHOP.
- Creating a network of green areas with a smaller environmental footprint.
- Last but not least, let's not forget that personal example is the best method of education. The implementation of composters in OPSOP will lead to better practices at a lower hierarchical level (households).

QUANTITATIVE ACCOUNT FOR ONE LOCATION

Each location includes one composter and the additional items described below.
There may be from one to several locations within a green space, which is calculated on the basis of the area, existing vegetation, maintenance intensity and maintenance schedule. The cost of implementing a single location project is generally related to the purchase of a composter and a waste bin and installing it in the designated site.
It should be borne in mind that the composting process is being directed and access to the composters should only be given to technically trained persons. Composters are not waste bins for ordinary citizens. Fitting a waste bin to each composter will limit the disposal of inorganic or non-compostable waste into the composter. I recommend rotary containers to be permanently attached to the flooring. The rotary mechanism facilitates the process of agitation and aeration of the compost, as well as the emptying of the plant.

STAGES

- Coordination of the project with the respective municipality.
- Selection of OPSHOP to participate in the project.
- Calculation of the required number of locations.
- Development of a plan of schemes for the location of composters.
- Adding of composter operation activities to the contracts of the subcontractors that maintain the green areas.
- Purchase of composters and other elements.
- Placing information labels on composters.
- Installation and permanent fixing to the pavement of composters and bins.
- Switching to use and maintenance mode.

Invest in compost!

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