Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Compost Happens

Compost happens! It's a happening thing! Right here in Chez Graf!

I recycle, of course, all the usual stuff in the weekly green bin collection. Have been for many years, and the trash burden is down to one bag every other week, usually. But still it wasn’t enough. All those food scraps – salad trimmings down the garbage disposal, banana peels and coffee grounds in the trash along with used paper napkins – it seems like such a waste. Also there’s the cat litter. It’s all natural, corn or wheat or walnut shell based and compostable. I’ve been disposing of it in the manure trailer at the barn, but that has its own drawbacks, not least having to transport it there in my car in the hot season.

So I checked out my town’s composting program, found it good, and signed up. For a fee of $1.30 week ($68/year, prorated for when you join the program) you get a free 12-gallon collecting bin with a locking lid, a comprehensive information sheet, a couple of sample liner bags for the bin and some sample food scrap bags for the kitchen counter. The program takes a lot of stuff beyond food scraps, too:

The sample bags are a brand called Bag To Earth. That company makes a variety of composting bags, and if the samples I got are any indication, they do a terrific job. The tall skinny bag pictured is the bin liner I got.

I’ve been doing the composting collection for a couple of days now and my only question is, why did I wait so long to sign up? The scrap bag is already almost full, but that’s partly because I’ve tossed in a bunch of stuff I’d been meaning to do something about but let slide. The locking lid really does seal in the odors for the collecting bin, which in any case lives in my garage rather in the house. The kitchen scrap bag, a heavy kraft paper with a waxy paper liner that does not leak liquids, also keeps odors confined despite being sealed by no more than folding over and chip-clipping. I’ve already ordered a scrap container and BPI-certified liner bags (a different, easily available brand) for when the sample kitchen bags run out.

But. The one problem I have is liner bags for the bin. The samples fit the tall skinny bin perfectly. They’re also kraft paper and have the same fluid-resistant lining as the kitchen bags. But they’re made in Ontario, Canada, and so far are not available in my neck of the woods, in fact I don’t think any retailer in the United States is carrying them yet.

The friendly folks at Public Works suggested newspapers for lining the bin, but I don’t buy the newspaper any more; or paper grocery bags, which I do use for recycling anyway, but they don’t rise high enough in the bin. I picked up a pack of tall leaf collection kraft bags from the local hardware store, but while tall enough they’re too wide.

I’m going to email Bag To Earth and beg them to open up a source in the United States. And then there’s this friend I have in Canada, in Ontario, in fact....

Yo, Tina?

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