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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Master Composter/Recycler training program again offered by URI, Resource Recovery

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 12, 2006 -- The University of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. will launch the third edition of a training program for local residents interested in becoming experts at composting and recycling.

Modeled after the URI Master Gardener program and similar programs around the country, the five-week Master Composter/Recycler program will begin September 25th and run on five Monday evenings through October 23rd from 6 to 8 p.m. at Southside Community Land Trust’s Urban Edge Farm in Western Cranston. Two Saturday sessions will be scheduled to visit the state landfill in Johnston and Earthcare Farm, a commercial composting facility, in Exeter.

“Most people don’t realize that over 12 percent of what is sent to the state landfill is organic material that could be composted in our own backyards or at a centralized facility,” said Marion Gold, director of the URI Cooperative Extension Education Center. “Composting is cheaper for society and better for the environment. So we’re looking to train interested individuals to help us spread the word and get the job done.”

In addition to the general public, Gold said that municipal recycling coordinators, public works staff, conservation commission members and others would benefit from the training.

The weekly sessions will discuss such topics as the importance and benefits of composting and recycling, how to create a home composting process, the science and art of composting, worm and innovative composting methods and engaging communities to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill.

The first Master Composter/Recycler training program was launched last fall and was met with great enthusiasm. “We had as many participants as we could handle, and they all went away with a passion for educating others about the benefits of composting and recycling,” Gold said. A second training session was held in the spring.

Like the Master Gardener program, the Master Composter/Recycler program will combine classroom instruction with a volunteer commitment. Those completing the program will be required to complete 30 hours of volunteer time educating the public about composting and recycling practices.

"This program is a great example of the success that is possible when two state entities work in collaboration to achieve a shared goal. Together, Rhode Island Resource Recovery and the University of Rhode Island have been able to help preserve resources by educating Rhode Islanders about simple ways they can reduce waste and benefit the environment," said Sherry Mulhearn, executive director of Rhode Island Resource Recovery.

A course fee of $50 will be charged to each registrant to cover classroom materials. For more information or to register for the course, call Tara Germond at the URI Cooperative Extension Education Center at 401-874-4453 or email her at tara@uri.edu.