Monday, May 10, 2010

But I Don't Want to Compost

Composting seems to be a big deal these days. Gardening season is upon us and wouldn't it be great if we all had some rich compost to mix in with the soil? In my case, it would be great to just have the beginnings of a garden, but I'll save my woes of the gravel-pit-which-won't-morph-into-a-garden-without-me for another day...

I'm no composting expert, but I get so many questions on it, I decided to tackle the three biggest questions - why should I do it, how do I keep it, and what do I do with it.

Why? Composting is better than dumping the food into a landfill because it creates far less methane, which is the 3rd most common greenhouse gas. Composting is better than sending it down the garbage disposal because that requires water usage and chemical treatment at the sewage plant.

If you don't compost, are you responsible for the demise of our planet? No, definitely not. If you honestly can't see yourself in the choices below, move on. Focus your efforts in other areas that seem more natural to you.

Where do I keep the food?
* Under the sink - I keep my food scraps under the sink in a basic Rubbermaid garbage can. We use a paper grocery bag (which we still have from all those trips to the store where I forgot the bag), but truthfully the bag does usually rip because the stuff on the bottom is frequently wet. It doesn't smell, but it doesn't always leave the garbage can looking pretty either.
* In a container in the fridge - This is for the people with super-sensitive noses. The downside would be the space it takes up space in the fridge.

* On the counter - Companies like Williams-Sonoma have all kinds of fancy containers that actually look good on the counter. They also have charcoal filters for the odor issue.

What do I do with it?

* Worm bin - clearly not for the casual composter...

* Compost pile/bin - Here's an earlier blog I wrote about this.

* Curbside yard waste program - Check with your local company to see if this is an option. If not, suggest it!
* Local drop-off sites - Some urban areas have created drop-off sites. Try Googling your city name and "compost drop-off site."

Ok, enough garbage talk for a while!

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  1. Actually, worm composting is perfect for the casual composter. Provide the worms with a bin, moisture and food and they do all the work. Odor free. No yard required.
    BigTex Worms

  2. Thanks for the input BigTex Worms. Since it's odor-free maybe it will work for the people squeamish of weird smells in the kitchen. My son's 2nd grade class has a new worm bin at school. So far, the only problem is that some over-zealous kids from another class found some worms on the playground and added them to the wormbin. Not sure if the playground worms are ideal, but ah well... an experiment in progress!