Saturday, March 21, 2015

Same Compost, Different Day

Into my second week on the composting program, and how do I like it so far?

Very, very much. I'd already been getting the cat litter into composting via the barn's manure collector container, but seeing it accumulate in my own little 12.5-gallon bin brought home just how much even one week's worth is -- most of the bin, in fact. Add another couple of food scrap bags' worth from the kitchen and the thing was stuffed full for its first pickup. Granted, I'd been dumping some outdated stuff in the scraps, which bulked that up somewhat, but this week's collector bag is almost full enough to go to the bin and I'll need to start a second one with three days to go before putting the bin out again.

Smell? No problem. The bin's in the garage and there's no odors escaping except when I lift the lid to dump the day's gleanings in. The kitchen scrap bag also doesn't smell, except for a slight whiff, not all that bad, when I lift the lid on the bag-holding container.

Replacement bags for the starters the folks at Public Works gave me? Those Bag To Earth kraft paper bags, alas, can't be found at any US retailer, but there are several suppliers of BPI-certified "plastic" bags. I now have a sleek plastic container on my kitchen shelf from Full Circle that works great and looks elegantly simple (in the grey and white, not that virulent green). I tried a 13-gallon bag in my bin but it wasn't wide enough at the top to hook over the rim, so I've Amazon-ordered a small box each of half a dozen different brands of 30/33-gallon trash/lawn and leaf BPI bags to see which I prefer. Yes, they'll be oversized, but at least I'll be able to drape the tops over the rim rather than having to reach down inside to unfold a smaller bag each time I want to dump something. Could leave the bin unlined, of course, but then I'd have to wash it out after each week's collection.

The folks running the town's program have sent me helpful emails with lots of good information, including yesterday's blast email to everyone about what can go into supermarket plastic bag collection bins -- not just grocery bags, but also bread bags, food/snack storage bags, shrinkwrap, produce bags, deflated packing air pillows, paper towel/toilet paper wrappings, dry cleaning bags -- it's just amazing how much can come out of the trash stream! Even before composting I had my trash disposal down to one bag every other week; I'm thinking now once every three weeks looks doable, with only my recycles going out every week.

And here's a tip: Those annoying packing peanuts? Hold one under running water; if it dissolves, it's compostable and can go into your compost bin.

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