Compost Trials: The Mission   Leave a comment

One of the reasons that I was really looking forward to owning a house was composting. One of my few cases of enviro-guilt was not composting. It pained me so much for the last few years to throw away kitchen garbage that couldn’t go in the green waste bin. I actually moved into the old rental with plans to compost and garden in the back yard. Then I moved in and discovered that there was a lot of trash in the planters and in the side yard; and that the cats owned the back yard and left it liberally strewn with land mines. All my gardening aspirations went out the window. With no outlet for the finished compost it didn’t seem like a very good idea then. I did eventually start growing some herbs in pots, and I suppose I could have started a small compost to support my pots, but I really didn’t know how to make that work.

With this move, though and a yard that I now own  and “control” (ok, so the cats have staked many claims on part of it), I am committed to compost! Developing a system is definitely still a work in progress, but here’s my first status report.

For me, the primary purpose for composting is waste stream reduction. I feel that we generate way too much trash. Based on my 2001 and 2006 trash audits, kitchen waste is about 10 pounds per month, or 10% of our total waste stream by weight. Paper is another 60% of our waste stream, but I prefer recycling that rather than composting since paper can be recycled into more useable paper. Ultimately, I’d love it if no food waste at all gets thrown in the trash. That means meat as well, which will require special composting techniques.

At the moment I’m kind of ignoring the green waste bin for yard stuff. I’d like to make the yard a closed loop, although there may be a place for the green waste bin. I’d heard that weed seeds can be a problem in municipal waste, but our city recycling brochure specifically lists weeds as acceptable green waste. I guess municipal composts reach/get treated to high temperatures that kill most weed seeds. If that is the case than weeds with seeds would go in the green waste bin rather than our home compost.

My time scale: I have at least half a year and maybe a year and a half before I will be using any finished compost since I’m not going to do much in the [concrete] yard as far as gardening goes right now. I predict that I’ll have my hands full with in-house, nursery, and curb appeal projects.

Posted September 25, 2010 by mayakey in environment, gardening

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