Monday, April 5, 2010

Composting for dummies.

I'm not very good at remembering to take out the garbage or the recycling on the proper nights. Thankfully, it's not really a problem when I forget to put the garbage out because our garbage can is rarely ever full. Today, for example, it's still not touching the brim, and we haven't put it out in about six weeks. The recycling, however, is out of control if we forget just once.

I blame this all on composting. A friend gave me a compost bin when I moved into this house about about four years ago, and it has changed my life. Everything we eat, for the most part, is compostable (we're vegetarians), and everything else, for the most part is recyclable. This has several affects on our household: 1) the garbage doesn't smell because there's no food in it and 2) we barely make any garbage. This is most excellent if you are lazy and don't like to take out the garbage.

It's weird, though, how habit -- even after four years of composting regularly -- still sends me to the garbage can first, then a light bulb goes off, and I grab the compost tin instead. I also admit that I've thrown away mystery-tupperwares that had been in the fridge for too long, and I was afraid to open them, scrape out the innards, and wash the container. But every time I've shamefully tossed one of them away, I've felt horrible guilt about it.

Anyway, (and listen up mayoral candidates!) I wish the City of Louisville would give us the option for a tiny garbage tub and a monstrous recycling can. But then, I suppose, I would actually have to get good at remembering to put it curbside on the proper nights. Maybe I should set up an alarm on iCal.

Anyone out there compost? How do you store your initial compost bin? I've got a plastic coffee tub that I use for kitchen scraps until I can get off my bum and empty it into the compost bin outside.


  1. (Facebook comments)

    Kelly M.
    yes I have thought the exact same things. J-town has a giant garbage-can-sized recycling bin that makes me envious.

    Paula L.
    I wish the city would pick up cost of curb side recycling for everyone... Not all the smaller cities within Louisville do it...

    Kelly M.
    ^ Well that also has to do with when Louisville Metro incorporated they left the subcities alone without forcing them to all roll in together. That's also why we get to have the fun argument of being the 24th largest city instead of the 16th, because technically all those little "cities" aren't part of Louisville. Which is very silly. Ok sorry for the hijack!

    LaDonna A
    My brother lives in San Francisco and they have a can for compost material, green waste, that gets picked up in addition to recycling. "The program is central to City of San Francisco's effort to divert 75 percent of waste generated in the city away from landfill disposal by 2010 and to achieve zero waste by 2020." With so many apartments and tiny yards many have little need for individual composting. Pretty cool I think.

    Brigid Kaelin
    What a cool idea: curbside compost.
    4 hours ago ·

    Laura B

    My sister gave me a counter top compost bucket that I enjoy using so I don't have to take stuff out to my back yard pile everyday.There is no smell. The link is above. I agree about how small the recycling bins are although if you are willing to shell out a few ... See Moreextra bucks the city will give you a second one. See link below. I like having 2 so that I never have recycling chaos. I only take my actual garbage can to the street about every once every month or so.

  2. more...

    Carrie Rennirt Meurer
    i love composting! my father in law built me a cadillac of compost bins! it is fantastic! and my counter top compost bin i bought at marshalls for $10 and resembles a fire hydrant. atleast that is what my boys tell me...i love how my children are so 'green'...they bring home recyclable materials even when we are out and about. they sure do ... See Morehold me accountable! and i agree, since i compost and recycle...there is hardly any garbage!! i think we should be able to pick and pay for once a month pick up..but that is when we are in charge of the city, right brigid! haha! brian is unfolding the master plan..

    Mark B
    Yes, loved the way San Fran does recycling except I was always putting the wrong trash in the wrong bin. I was only there 2 months. I'm sure I would have eventually learned that the can with the small, round hole was only for aluminum cans given time. Heck, I bet if I read the above note, I might gain some insight!

    Colleen M
    What kind of outdoor bin do you recommend? Blue insisted on starting a pile, but we've been composting al fresco, and I pity the neighbors.

    Brigid Kaelin
    We have a pile for leaves/small yard waste that David made out of bamboo and chicken wire, but if you're composting food, you really should get something with a lid and not just for the neighbors' sake. We've had enough trouble with creatures of the night figuring out how to open the lid and get themselves treats. No lid would be opossum-party-central.

    I can't remember the brand I've got.. it looks like this one though, might be it:

    Love those countertop composts, Laura & Carrie. I'll get one someday ... the big coffee tin works for now, but when it gets cruddy, I'll get a fancy one. ... See More

    Brigid Kaelin
    oooh mine is called the Garden Gourmet:

    Shannon Lawson
    I'm going to find an antique chamber pot for my countertop compost lol

    Barry T
    I'll donate any/all of my leaves and grass clippings to anyone who wants them. Help yourself.

  3. "It's weird, though, how habit -- even after four years of composting regularly -- still sends me to the garbage can first, then a light bulb goes off, and I grab the compost tin instead."

    That's so funny to read, because the exact same thing is happening to me all the time. I love composting, and it is so easy to do.