Compost and Waste Reduction
Working Group

Our Mission

  1. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from the landfilling of organic matter — targeting residents, business, institutions and municipal governments — through educating, promoting, advocating and supporting backyard composting and municipal programs.
  2. To educate the general public on the inefficacy of the current blue box recycling programs and the true cost/benefit analysis of recycling.
  3. To explore approaches to and to develop locally-appropriate strategies for radically reducing waste from all sources and sectors. Promote refuse, repurpose, repair, reduce, reuse, — paths to zero-waste.

What we are working on

Assessing Opportunities

We are currently assessing opportunities for municipal composting, including fungal dominant compost and neighbourhood digesters.


If you would like to volunteer with the Composting and Zero Waste Group, please sign up to be part of the network, or email our Working Group Facilitator, Mercedes Steedman .

Who We Are

Kathleen McIntyre 
Kathleen is a recently retired elementary school teacher. She has lived and worked in various locales, including France, Japan, Tanzania and Bhutan. In her travels, she has witnessed many wonders of the natural world as well as humankind’s destructive impacts on the same. She has a deep-seated love of nature, animals, children and culture, and, in an effort to preserve these treasures, she decided to join CNL. She hopes that raising awareness about the climate crisis and educating others about composting and the 4Rs will lead to a positive outcome at the local level. Kathleen  currently lives in Carleton Place, but has dreams of moving to a tiny house in Nova Scotia or Costa Rica.

Anita Payne De Gaia 
Anita Payne De Gaia is a retired high school science teacher and grandmother. She lives on a small lake in southern Lanark County. Anita has been active in many community and environmental groups as well as the Green Party. In the 1990s she chaired the Lanark County Waste Management Public Liaison Committee. In 2013 Anita attended Climate Reality training in Chicago. Soon afterwards she joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby and participated in the Great March for Climate Action in the USA in 2014. Currently she focuses on making art quilts and gardening, while the urgency of the climate crisis compels her to continue promoting climate action.

Mercedes Steedman – Group Facilitator
Mercedes spent most of her working life teaching at the universities in Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury. Living in a mining town where toxic gases have damaged the natural environment led her to become active in community efforts to prevent further damage, and to work with other activists to establish Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, a group of grassroots volunteers, advocating for a green, healthy Sudbury. She also worked with the Sudbury and District Labour Council to establish a workers center to assist low wage workers in the region. Since moving to the Perth area, Mercedes also served on the board of REAL in Smith Falls.

Gayda Errett 
As a lay person and recreational user of forests [camping, hiking, skiing [cross-country/downhill] and horseback trail riding, I am a concerned person when it comes to preserving and conserving forests. I was involved in advocacy work, lobbying Lanark County to take its trails into the public forum. Other than working with Forest Rangers in the Kananaskis as a volunteer and living on forest property, I do not condone clear-cutting, or removal of old growth forests, nor mining sensitive areas where the caribou live. 

Scott Hortop 
Scott’s background includes 8 years as a Nursing Home Administrator and construction project manager, 12 years in Haiti in TB control and public health vaccination, 6 years with ProWater Group business for thirst world cities and 15 years with ZENON Environmental and GE Water & Process Technologies. A grandfather of 13, he is now retired. He currently produces fungal dominant compost from Almonte’s fallen leaves as an inoculant used in regenerating degraded farmland, facilitating CNL’s Farms Working Group and working with CNL’s Compost and Forestry Working Groups. A Member of Naismith Men’s Shed, he can also be found sawing logs with Woodland Mills sawmill. 


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