Garbage weight, that is. I’ve never noticed the magnitude of my kitchen waste until composting for three years and then going without it. It’s just as impressive to me as the amount of recyclables we accumulate, if not more. Food waste is unavoidable: vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, moldy leftovers and stale bread seem to fill up our little garbage can every few days. It’s so sad knowing that it’s going to the landfill when it could become beautiful, glorious compost. So, what are my options?
A Bin with a View
Living on the 11th floor of an urban apartment building leaves out the option of having a backyard compost bin. We do have a balcony though, and I’ve been looking into the possibility of setting up a compost bin out there. At first I thought that the critters wouldn’t find a compost bin on a balcony, but I guess where there’s a will, there’s a way. It could be worth trying out on a small scale and see what happens. Using a garbage can with a lid seems like a good option for an apartment balcony. Check out this video that shows you how. But, I wonder if I would be going against some city code…
There’s a Hair in My Dirt
I’ve already mentioned my husband’s opposition to having a worm bin in our apartment. He’s not anti-composting at all (in California he contributed to our food scrap bin just as much as I did) but had a bad worm bin experience years ago when his sister attempted to vermicompost in their apartment. I’ve tried to convince him that I know we can have a worm bin without problems like fruit flies, but he’s still skittish. I still think there’s hope for a worm bin. But there’s also the issue that worm bins can only handle a small amount of food waste, so that wouldn’t completely solve the problem anyway. Meanwhile, I can study my Worm Woman book.
Can Donating Food Waste be a Tax Write-Off?
I’ve been curious about whether there’s a community garden or urban farm out there that is in need of quality food waste for composting. Sure, I would be willing to fill up a kitty litter bucket and deliver it somewhere within a reasonable distance. While at the FamilyFarmed Expo last month, I was thrilled to find out that a really cool local organization called Growing Power is going to start accepting organic waste for its urban farms in Chicago in the spring. I just have to wait a little while and this might turn out to be a great partnership!
Compost Wish List Item
I recently found out about the NatureMill electric composter. This is pretty darn nifty. The only issue I can see (other than the cost at $300 and up–yikes!) is that you have to plug it in, using electrical energy that other methods of composting wouldn’t need. But, they claim that it uses just 5 kwh/month–“less than a garbage truck would burn in diesel fuel to haul the same waste”. Wow, they even have one model that composts pet waste. Is it too late to ask for this for Chrismakkuh?