Composting

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Still painting. I put the first coat on the ceiling yesterday while Juniper took a three hour nap. She's either going through a growth spurt, or she's finally clumped her string of thirty minute naps together into one long nap. I can't tell you how much I can get done in three hours, especially if it is a morning when Samuel is at summer camp!

Here's a picture of some stale flatbread that I threw out onto the street for the birds, but the ants found it first. Sometimes, I'll throw stale bread out at dusk, then at 5AM, just when the sun is rising, a crow will spot it, perch itself in a tree right outside our bedroom window, and caw for what seems like well over an hour to let every family member in SW Portland know that breakfast is on the street. Once the family arrives, the cawing really gets loud. Our poor neighbors! It's mornings like that where I wish I'd sent it to the landfill, but instead, I just use it as an excuse to drink more coffee--and try to remember next time to throw the bread out earlier in the day.

Speaking of sending less to the landfill, I got Samuel a book on landfills yesterday at the library and learned that 60% of the garbage that we generate can be composted or recycled. I also learned that the food scraps that go to the landfill produce methane gas, which is a leading cause for global warming. I love a good compost for my garden, so lately, I've been determined to keep all organic waste out of the trash and into the compost bin. We got our compost bin through Metro. The key is to mix this organic material with materials that have a high carbon content to offset the fruit and vegetable scraps that contain nitrogen. If the materials are balanced and turned, then the compost breaks down quickly into humus with little odor (this will prevent vermin from getting into your compost), and fewer greenhouse gases.

The writers of Enviromom are trying to limit the waste their families produce to one garbage can curbside each month. They've gone through each room in their homes and put together lists of what each room tends to generate in trash. They have some great ideas for alternatives to limit waste, and suggestions for how to recycle and compost everything else. They've also written a post recently on food waste, and even took the time to make a video. Check out their blog post on food scrap composting.

Also, if you haven't been down to one of the Portland Recycling Centers, you might be surprised to find bins where you can recycle a lot of materials that can't be put out curbside. It's free. Just pull up, drop off, and leave! In fact, there is a bin for rigid plastics, where you can recycle your old yellow recycling bins (unless you've found another use for them) once you get your new ones. Also, the SE location (just S of 17th and Holgate) accepts aseptics, so there is finally a place to regularly drop off your soy milk cartons!

Time to get Samuel off to summer camp, then if Juniper will sleep her morning away, I plan to get some serious painting done!

1 comments:

Andrea said...

Great ideas Karli! I love the composting but I need to be better at it. Thanks for the reminders!

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