Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Scrap Veggies

I feel like everyone has something they're super passionate about, right? Well, (one of) mine is the environment. I'm really thankful that our new city has really awesome recycling facilities, because back in College Station we could basically only recycle white paper, plastic, and certain colors of glass, and it made my soul die a little every time I had to throw away something that could have totally been recycled in any other city.

But even with the better recycling options, I'm always looking for ways to reduce the amount of trash we produce, because it bothers me a lot how wasteful we are as a society. How wasteful we are as a household, and there's only the two of us! We are far from perfect, and send an awful lot of trash to the landfill every week, and my goal is to be more aware of it and reduce our refuse when possible.

A long time ago, I decided I wanted to try my hand at composting our food scraps, and it didn't go over that well. I ended up with a tiny bucket full of sludge because I didn't know the first thing about helping stuff decompose. But, live and learn: I did some more research this time, and about a month ago, I built my own large bin composter for the backyard. (I used this tutorial.)

And by "built" I mean "drilled some holes in this trash can I got from Lowe's."

Thankfully, Matt has been really on board with all my efforts to throw away less stuff. We hardly use paper towels anymore, thanks to having clean rags within easy reach all the time. And now we throw away significantly fewer food scraps. He's gotten even more into composting than I have!

We keep a little flower pot in the kitchen to collect egg shells and veggie peelings, and then every day (or every other day), we'll toss it out into the compost bin. Every week, when I get the newspaper and circulars in the mail, I'll shred them and toss them in as well, along with a handfull of potting soil. And then one of us (most likely Matt) shakes the bin up to keep it all mixed and working.

And despite the fact we've been throwing food in here for more than a month, it doesn't really even smell.

It hasn't been that long, and we use the 32-gallon bin an awful lot, but I'm excited to get to a place where we can turn all our compostable food waste into soil. My goal is to eventually have a small garden in our backyard, so we can grow a few types of veggies. (Our basil plant didn't survive the drive to Virginia, and our pepper plant gave us two marble-sized Mexibells before the weather got cold and it freaked out.) At some point, I may have to make a second bin, so we can keep throwing scraps in while the first bin decomposes, but we're not to that point yet.

What is it that you're really passionate about? Do you compost?


  1. Composting would be really hard in our apartment, but I love the idea of it. It really freaks me out how much trash we use... and we're just two people too! I know what you mean. One thing I am passionate about is bringing canvas/paper bags with me to the grocery store. I've been doing it for about five years, so I'm used to it by now. The bags can hold SO much more, plus you're not wasting plastic bags AND it saves time if you're just running in for a few things. You don't need to get a cart because you can just toss your stuff into your bag as you go. When cashiers double-bag milk into plastic bags, it enrages me.

  2. Our town has a great recycling program, and we definitely recycle more than we throw away. My boys eat a ton of apples and carrots each week, and whenever I throw away the scraps, I think about composting. I need to just get on it already.

  3. i've always wanted to compost, but with a tiny apartment in the city - i've never gone for it. will definitely be a project once we get a house -- perhaps something to learn with the kids? i also want a garden - all little steps toward making a smaller footprint on the environment (or is the expression the other way??)

  4. I always tell them not to put the milk in a bag. It's got a built-in handle, yo! They don't always listen.

    It's convenient, but I do always feel guilty when I go around the store throwing stuff into my reusable bags before I get to the cash register though, as if I'm going to attempt to shoplift or something.

  5. You'd probably be able to put the compost to good use with all your flowers and potted plants!

  6. You got it right, reducing your footprint. :) That would be a cool thing to do as a family, start a little garden and show the kids how the growth and harvest and compost cycle works.