The Green side of CBR: Join the Sustainability Club

giadaBy Giada Marino, Post-doctoral fellow in Overall Lab, CBR


compost cookie club

CBR Cookie Club members

This month, CBR celebrates the second anniversary of the Compost Cookie Club, a green and sustainable initiative developed and promoted by Dr. Geraldine Walsh, scientific writer for Canadian Blood Services Research, and Dr. Katherine Serrano, Canadian Blood Services Research Associate and UBC Clinical Assistant Professor working in Dr. Dana Devine’s research lab at the CBR.

We started exactly two years ago,” Geraldine says. “After the failure of a previous ‘messy and stinky’ composting attempt, Katherine and I decided to engage more people by making the composting more enjoyable: We decided to start a Compost Cookie Club.

The idea is simple; every week two members of the Club are in charge of daily emptying of the small compost bins located in the CBR common area into larger bins placed outside the building. To avoid odour issues, the bins are also washed and wiped dry. About 24 people, from different laboratories within the CBR, have already joined the Compost Cookie Club and they meet every month to discuss other sustainability events, initiatives and new ideas to make the CBR greener, while eating cookies (generously provided by the CBR). Of course, new members are always welcome!

Most people may not be aware that the organic waste produced on campus is processed through the UBC In-Vessel composter and made into a useful product for the UBC gardeners to use on University landscapes. At maximum capacity, the large-scale composter can process up to 5 tonnes of food waste and compostable items daily and within two weeks turn it into compost. Moreover, composting is one of the ongoing successful programs to make UBC a sustainable campus.

“Unfortunately, non-compostable items are often found in the bins –such as yogurt containers and plastic cutlery. This results in both the food scraps and recyclable materials in the compost bin being sent to the landfill, instead of being composted and recycled”, Geraldine explains. “Please help us keep the compost bins clean by ensuring non-compostable items are not placed in there, thus reducing the amount of garbage going to landfills”.

Geraldine is also the CBR and LSI Team Leader for the “Bike to Work Week” event. Twice a year, spring and fall — this year May 25 – 31 and October 26 – Nov 1 — Bike to Work Week promotes bicycle commuting in the city to increase the health, sustainability and liveability of Metro Vancouver. Unfortunately, after three years, Geraldine has to step down and she is looking for an enthusiastic cyclist to be the new Team Leader for the CBR and LSI.

Are you interested in joining the Compost Cookie Club or the Bike to Work Week Team? Contact Geraldine (Geraldine.walsh[at] or Anna Sinova (anna.sinova[at]