The Dirty Truth of Composting.

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane &

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane &

Dinnertime is over and it is time to clean up. Instead of putting your scraps down the garbage disposal or in the trashcan, you open up your stainless steel scrap bucket you keep under the sink. The smell hits you like a punch in the face. You tell yourself that it is the smell of doing something good for the environment, just like the garbage man tells himself that garbage is the smell of money. Then you realize that your trusty scrap bucket is full and it needs to be brought out to the compost pile. A quick game of rock, paper, scissors, and you are still the one headed outside. Fail. But wait, the night gets better because the compost pile is ready to be ‘turned over.’ Now your dinnertime cleanup has gone from 5 to 15 minutes.

I am not going to sugarcoat sustainability for you. It is not always the easiest decision to make, and it may cost more money and take a little extra time. BUT, it is worth it. Let’s use the scenario above as our example (that is why I started with it after all). If you already compost you know that it does carry a certain smell to it, and that is can mean for a little extra thought and time after meals. However, I would argue that garbage has a smell and does nothing to help you. Composting, on the other hand, has a plethora of benefits, both economical and environmental.

A recent study shows that composting may be able to create two times more jobs than landfills, which is a boost our economy could use. Other benefits include diverting waste from the landfills, providing natural fertilizer for your yard, garden, and flowerbeds, and recycling more than just paper, plastics, and alumni from your kitchen. One other hidden benefit is saving money – not as many trash bags and no fertilizer to purchase. Don’t believe me yet that composting is the right choice?

Some major cities that are on the forefront of sustainability offer curbside composting. A city study conducted on SanFrancisco before it started its composting program in 1996 found that more than one-third of all waste entering landfills could be composted instead. In 2012, between composting and recycling, the city diverts 78% of its waste from landfills. And when Portland launched its composting program, it was able to cut back weekly garbage collection to every other week since citizens weren’t producing as much garbage.

I am hoping that you are starting to see why people are taking a little bit of extra effort to compost. If you don’t already compost and are ready to find out how to start, below are two great websites full of composting information, including what to, and not to, compost. There are also step-by-step instructions of how to get started.

As with many things in life, if it is easy, it probably isn’t worth it. Happy composting!

~ Mandi

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