For Phase I of Operation Trash Reduction, we signed up for a curbside composting service called Garbage to Garden. They provide you with a plastic bucket with a tight-fitting lid, pick it up from your curb on trash day, and leave a clean bucket in its place. You can get free compost in return, which we don’t have much use for, oh well.
The great thing about Garbage to Garden is that they will take any organic waste, including bones, meat, compostable plates–all the things you can’t put in home compost. The household waste goes to a great big commercial operation that processes waste from the fishing and farm industries. Anytime I get the “yuck” reaction to all the “garbage” I’m putting in my compost, all I have to do is think, “fish guts and cow manure,” and it’s all good!
I worked out how much it costs ($14/month) vs. how much in trash bags it saves us ($2/week), and our net cost for composting is a little more than $1 a week. We’ll break even or come out ahead on weeks when we have a lot of guests and/or have to use paper plates. Plus, it’s free after the first month if you volunteer, which I plan on doing, at least sometimes.
Even if I’m not able to volunteer, there are some side benefits we get for our $1/week other than fuzzy feelings about helping the environment. For example, our trash bags are much less gross, so it’s much less unpleasant for Jeff to tie them up and take them out, and he doesn’t have to worry about them leaking either. We don’t even have to wash the compost bucket ourselves.
I also discovered a surprising emotional benefit. Oddly, having a little container on the counter to collect food waste makes a place feel like home to me. I know it’s unusual, but you would feel that way too if the only times in your life you didn’t compost were when you lived in temporary places. This apartment will probably be temporary too, so every little bit helps.
I think I can safely declare Phase I of Operation Trash Reduction a success.
Phase II, still in the planning stages, is cloth diapering. Be forewarned.