Thursday, January 13, 2011

Composting Thoughts

I LOVE that we have single-stream recycling system in the city now! It surprises me that it's actually become available. I mean, it must cost a lot for the city to put this into place. But I suppose they've realized that very few people will make the effort of recycling when it's difficult to do (e.g. sorting everything into separate containers, washing everything completely and removing labels, different collection weeks for each item).

As far as I can remember, Pittsburgh never required people to do all those things...but it's only recently that they've started accepting so many types of papers for recycling. Until recently, Tom and I used to create astounding amounts of trash. I don't know how two people can generate so many trash bags a week, but our number was up to 4 or 5. We've always recycled, but it was just jars, cans, milk jugs...Now we can include so much more. The huge stacks of newspapers that come every week can now be put out on the curb, instead of us having to drive them to the collection bins at the church parking lots. And we can even recycle the plastic bags they come in! Then there's all the junk mail, magazines, and circulars, cereal boxes and cardboard....we still haven't filled up the regular trash can, after a whole week! All that goes in there now is styrofoam and other packaging materials, and food scraps/remains. If we had a compost pile/bin for the food remains, we could probably reduce our outgoing trash by a further 30% or so.

I really like the idea of composting, but I don't know much about it. Our backyard at this place is pretty tiny. If we built a compost area, it would probably take up half the yard AND stink it up majorly. I can just imagine the smell of rotting food wafting in my kitchen window all summer long...mmm. We might have to wait until we live somewhere with a better location. I wonder about silly little details like: how often do you need to "stir" the compost? Do people usually have a small "compost-bound" container in the kitchen, where they dump scraps as they cook? Or do people just carry things directly out to the yard?

If anyone has experience with compost, I'd love to hear some suggestions.

1 comment:

  1. I don't have direct experience, but my Dad always had a compost heap when I was growing up. He dumped grass from mowing the lawn there, and I think we brought out food scraps etc whenever we washed the dishes. (Such scraps usually ended up in the bottom of the sink, were collected in a plastic bag, and carried out.)

    Keith's dad currently has a mini garbage can next to the regular trash for compost items that I think he empties every few days.

    I don't *recall* my dad stirring it all that often, but I may just not have been aware. I do remember the steam and heat coming off it when he did--it was a good compost pile, one we'd had for years before moving to PA.