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[personal profile] mizrobot
I heard a very inspiring story on NPR this morning about the City of San Francisco’s recycling program. They are mandating composting and currently divert 72% of their waste from landfills. I am really curious about composting at home but Curtis is hesitant because he’s worried about the smell. We don’t have a balcony to put a compost bin on so I’m not really sure how to do it. The most inspiring part of the story is that SF has a goal of sending ZERO WASTE to landfills by 2020. Wow—that is incredible! In contrast, I think the City of Seattle has a goal of diverting 75% of their trash by 2025.

The HEE-larious part was the local lead-in to the story. The guy actually said, “San Francisco is following Seattle’s lead as it imposes mandatory recycling laws…” blah blah blah. Um, what? I don’t think so. We mandated recycling first, but not composting, and Seattle is too worried about hurting people’s feelings by taking away their plastic bags and bottles to be a real leader on the sustainable forefront. Okay, so we do better than many cities, but a lot of it is PR and positioning rather than real radical change. I am still pissed about that plastic bag thing.

So anyway: does anyone here compost in their home without an outside space? When we were kids we just had a “slop bucket” under the sink and we dumped all our leftovers in it to feed the pigs. I don’t have a recollection of problems with smells or bugs, but that seems really gross to me now.

Fun fact: there’s a lot of talk about bio-degradable this and that, but did you know that landfills are designed to not allow anything to degrade? So even bio-degradable trash bags and materials might last for decades if they end up in a landfill.

In other news, I managed to lock myself out of the apartment today. I took my house keys off my ring last night to go for a jog (I tie them to my shoelaces) and stupidly forgot to reattach them. Of course I had to do that when my roomie is out of town! I left a voicemail and an email with the manager but have yet to hear back…it might be a long night.

Date: 2009-10-21 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] graphxgrrl.livejournal.com
Because we have composting at work, I actually have a plastic bucket I keep in my freezer and bring in to the office once a week.

There are lots of kitchen solutions though for sorting your compost, Container Store has some cute bins and I saw a bin/bag combo for cheap at QFC the other day. The key is really just not letting it get out of control and using a solution that seals well enough to control the odor.

Date: 2009-10-21 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] planxi-mihi.livejournal.com
I use a countertop compost bin for food scraps--it's bamboo and has a removable plastic liner bucket, I think I got it at either The Container Store or Crate & Barrel. Since it's relatively small, I empty it often enough that smells aren't an issue. It also has a lid with space to insert charcoal filters which is supposed to help with smell containment, but I don't know if it works or not. We live in a house, so I just dump the contents into our yard waste bin, so I can't help with the apartment part, sorry!

Date: 2009-10-22 12:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] planxi-mihi.livejournal.com
Then I definitely recommend the countertop bin, here (http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-International-PAIL-BOO-Compost-3-25-qt/dp/B0017U7EA6/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256169617&sr=8-5) is the one I have, but I believe it was only about $20 at the Container Store or wherever I purchased it. Amazon has lots of different options. I pass along this tale of caution from friends who had the porcelain version - it was very heavy and chipped all over before smashing to pieces on their cement patio when accidentally dropped (no surprise).

Date: 2009-10-21 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moomily.livejournal.com
The slop bucket smelled, trust me. I remember.

You can get indoor composting receptacles. I think you'll have to supply the worms, though. But what would you do with the compost? Oh wait, I guess other people can have houseplants because they don't have cats that eat them and puke them up all over the house.

Oh look, worm-free indoor composting!

Date: 2009-10-21 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moomily.livejournal.com
Oh! Then lots of places make little countertop receptacles for food scraps that have carbon or something in them so supposedly they don't smell. I know I've seen one in the Crate and Barrel catalog.

Date: 2009-10-21 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shinyredtype.livejournal.com
Living in NYC = roaches and mice, so my friends who compost and have a freezer that they don't share with four roommates keep their compost in a ziploc bag or bucket in there. Many of the farmer's markets have a compost stand, so you can bring your compost there for collection during the market.

Date: 2009-10-21 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] windup.livejournal.com
i have a worm bin which i keep in my one-room 280-square-foot studio and i love it! they have a thing here in new york where a community-based ecology center offers the worms and bin (just a basic plastic box, small enough to put on a shelf) for $10 with a free workshop, and you can pick them up at the farmer's market. i only take out my trash once a week and end up with a ton of compost to use for house plants or give away to friends with gardens.

Date: 2009-10-21 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kickarse.livejournal.com
We just use a little metal wastebasket with a lid that goes under the sink... it has a little plastic bin in it that we take out after dinner every night to the yard waste bin. I never really notice any stink, since any stinky foods usually are part of dinner, and I think the grounds from Bryan's morning coffee and Vivian's fruit scraps kind of neutralize any other smells.

It seems like all the specific "compost" containers are like $50!!
Edited Date: 2009-10-21 08:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-10-21 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] severinus.livejournal.com
We use one of these bins for our day-to-day composting. We keep it on a countertop, but it can be wall-mounted too (Ingo & Andy have the same bin, and they keep theirs wall-mounted right above their garbage). We use biodegradable bags to line the bin, so it's real easy & unmessy to take the scraps out to the yard waste bin a few times a week. I think maybe we picked up ours at Fred Meyer?

As for "following Seattle's lead", it's probably a reference to the fact that weekly yard waste collection has been mandatory for single-family households since March. SPU didn't ban food scraps in garbage like they did with recycling, but in making yard waste mandatory, they pretty heavily promoted the idea that people should put their food scraps in there. (At the same time, they also made it ok for meat, bones, etc, to go in there.) I agree though that Seattle isn't on the leading edge anymore, if it ever was.

Date: 2009-10-21 09:21 pm (UTC)
silverfae9: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverfae9
I hear that charcoal filters are supposed to help with smells, but I don't know for sure. I think if you take it out pretty often it would be fine, though.

I kept my worms inside in a closet the first winter I had them--you know, when they were still alive--and didn't have any smell problem.

Date: 2009-10-21 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blue-lotus.livejournal.com
I just use a rubbermaid bin for my scraps and dump it in my neighbour's compost pile.

You could make this to use in your garage- http://www.yougrowgirl.com/garden/urbancomposting.php

I've grown up with composting. If you sort things properly, it doesn't smell at all.

Edmonton also has a great recycling program and waste management centre. The city was the first in Canada to mandate curbside recycling.


Date: 2009-10-21 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dazzlynn.livejournal.com
the city i used to live in also allowed compost in the yard waste bin. That city (albany, ca, just north of berkeley) would deliver you a kitchen counter compost pail for free if you asked. poke around on your local garbage site, they may give it to you for free. I bought bio bags at the local market and would keep it on the counter. if it started to smell or get weird, or we had something particularly smelly (like fish) we'd take it out that night. It's really not a very big deal if you have the ability to dump it regularly. then just wash out the bucket every now and then. the bio bags will decompose in the bucket a bit if your compost is too juicy.

man. i'm so sad we can't put food scraps in our yard bins anymore. :(

Date: 2009-10-22 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astronautical.livejournal.com
but now you can build your own bin in your own yard!

actually we have to do this badly at our house, we had SO MUCH food waste in the trash that should have been composted.

/hijack -
M I would recommend the freezer method! Jenn/cowgirly/tinychoices does this with her scraps and brings them to the greenmarket to compost.

Date: 2009-10-21 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fisticuffs.livejournal.com
We have this bin and we keep it in the cabinet under the sink. I pull it out when I'm preparing dinner to throw scraps in.

At the end of the night, we leave it by the stairs and take it out (dumped into our yard waste bin) every morning when we leave for work and then bring it back upstairs when we come home. We haven't had any trouble with smells even when we forget for a day. It's small enough to fit in our dishwasher (with the lid removed) and we've run it through there a few times for a thorough cleaning.
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