Old freezers are finding a new lease on life when transformed into Hot Damn composters. A brainchild of Bert Baillie, the composter was aptly named when a friend of Baillie’s announced that it worked “like a hot damn!”
Baillie is a familiar sight around the community garden, behind Powell River Community Resource Centre, as he volunteers most days with the Compost Education Centre. Earlier this spring he assisted Career Link clients as they gave the garden a good spring cleaning. The resulting wheelbarrow loads of weeds and grass were composted, layered with sheep manure and placed in one of the eight bins surrounding the garden. One of the bins the group used was a freezer converted into a steaming compost bin.
Job Options BC, an employment and skills training program offered through Career Link, recruited Baillie to train people how to convert freezers to composters. The benefits of the composters are many. Freezers are recycled in an earth-friendly way, as opposed to ending up in the landfill. Because freezers are insulated, they keep the heat in throughout the year, which speeds up the composting process. The insulation, combined with excellent design principles, have resulted in a composter that is more efficient than most. In addition, the freezers are painted black which enables them to blend in with most garden settings.
The biggest challenge at the moment is finding enough old freezers. “We know they’re out there, it’s just a matter of getting the word out to the community,” said Baillie. Once additional freezers are found and transformed into Hot Damn composters, they will be sold to the community at cost. The project isn’t about making a profit, it’s about building a healthier and more sustainable community for present and future generations.
Readers with an old freezer to donate, or who want to know more about the Hot Damn composter, are invited to call Tai Uhlmann at 604.414.0445, a member of the Let’s Talk Trash Team (a Powell River Regional District initiative). Uhlmann is in charge of the Composting Education Centre on Joyce Avenue.
More information on the composters can be obtained by visiting the Hot Damn composter blog. Funding for Job Options BC is provided through the Canada–British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.
(Note: This article was changed to correct inaccurate information.)