Wednesday, May 2, 2012

we're composting!

Remember when composting meant taking your peels and scraps out to the pile on the edge of the yard and dumping them on the heap of leaves and twigs and half decomposed remnants of last week's dinners? (Or maybe that was just the way we did it out in the country ;) Growing up, composting was just a part of the daily routine, and I never paid it much thought. Anything that could go back into the soil, did. There wasn't anything chic or trendy about composting, and I certainly didn't feel any sense of pride for carrying out this simple chore...

This compost heap is how we did it back in the day. 

But, when I left home to live in an apartment in the city, figuring out a way to compost was not on my to-do list. In fact, I didn't really think about it at all for the first 10 years or so of city living (shame on me). Recycling was second nature, but it took a while to realize I need to compost as well. The thought hit me... why am I throwing all this compostable food into a plastic trash bag for it to end up in a huge landfill?! It probably helped that around this time San Francisco imposed city-wide composting ordinances- and while Los Angeles has always been light years behind the Bay Area when it came to matters of the environment, I couldn't help but feel personally compelled to keep up with our 'sister' city to the North (or 'brother' city, as is it in my case).

So I looked into it, and found out it was super easy for us to start composting. Lucky for us, our apartment building has 3 kinds of trash pick-up; the black barrels, for regular garbage, the blue barrels for recyclables and... wait for it... the green barrel for yard waste. One call to the LA City Department of Sanitation and I got the green light to use the green barrel for composting. All we had to do was to tie up our table scraps in a compostable bag (they sell the green corn-based ones at our local supermarket), put the bag in the barrel and violá, they take care of the rest.

So now, atop our counter, sits our very own compost bin! It's not the most perfect design for such a job. as it does have a "lip" on the inside of the rim that makes it difficult to get the bags out if they are too full, but it was a canister that we already had, and it gets the job done. Eventually, I might break down and get one of these cuter styles (because composting is supposed to be cute, right?)
And maybe one day when I have loads of space to work with, I'll find a spot next to my garden to create this awesome hay bale compost pile.

So, I have found the light and now composting is something that I'll make sure I always do, no matter where I live.  And like any good born-again, I want to spread the word and convert all the non-composters out there. Below is a list of links- there are so many sites online that tell you the how, where and why of composting, but these are just a few that I found and wanted to share. Hope I've turned someone out there into a composter!


For a how-to in composting in the city, check out this site

The site, Composting 101, has everything you need to know about composting, including a good list of what to add and what to avoid putting in your bin.

Got the room but not the cash for a fancy compost bin? Here's a step by step tutorial on how to make a simple compost bin out of a large rubber trash can.

Don't want to do it yourself? Don't have city-sponsored composting? Click here to find a composter near you (in North America)

This site is a great resource for composting in the UK.

Or, simply search online for composting programs in your area- you might be surprised how easy it will be to add a little compost to your life!

No comments:

Post a Comment