02 September 2012

Compost!

So you're already limiting your purchases, buying better-quality stuff that will last for a long time, avoiding food waste, and recycling glass, paper, plastic, metal.  What's the next step in reducing the amount of stuff you send to the landfill?

Compost.

My mother's compost bin is a big black cylinder with no bottom. Peelings and roots and inedible leaves and eggshells go in the top and come out the bottom as rich loam.  When it gets full, my mother lifts the whole thing up in the spring, digs in the compost, and plants stuff on the pile.  It thrives.

My cousin Harold's compost this year goes is a pile in the middle of a circle of sunflowers.  Harold is incredibly creative and his compost solutions vary from year to year, but they're always smart.  He's been seen to carry a banana peel home -- even if there's a compost bin to hand -- so it can go in HIS OWN compost pile.

I live in the bustling city of New York, and I don't have a back yard, so my compost bin is a little plastic bucket in the freezer.  (A fellow NYC composter clued me in to that trick, and it's a huge improvement on keeping a bin out on the counter if you can't empty it daily.)

A couple of times a week I go to a farmer's market at Union Square or Tompkins Square to make my contribution.  If you live in New York, here's a list of Greenmarket drop-off locations.  But there are others, if these aren't convenient: look for community gardens and ask around.  Other cities will have places to compost, sometimes in the parks, sometimes at the dump.