Composting 101: Take One

Back in the late 1970s I was visited by a French friend and besides her disdain about jello, I remember her surprise and dismay as I gathered my kitchen trash one day. The garbage can was full of food scraps and paper and plastic packaging.  She said she would show me what she trashes in a week. She then sorted through the mess, putting all uncooked food scraps to one side, all paper and plastic and metal to another, all glass to another. When she finished there was about one cup of trash, mostly uneaten food scraped from plates after the meal.

One cup. Instead of 13 gallons.

At the time the concept of recycling was not common. So, I did not change my ways then. But over time, I started to be more aware of my contribution to the care and loving of Planet Earth and slowly started sorting.

Before moving to McMinnville the city where I lived in West Virginia offered a recycling curbside pickup for a fee. There were several issues, though. One was the container was pretty small. The other was that the service was intermittent and finally ended. There were some collection containers in the city, but we got out of the habit again.

We had, however, started composting. We had a small garden in our back yard and saw how quickly our kitchen produce waste could become green manure for our future food plot.  We continued composting when we moved to McMinnville, building a larger collection area in our backyard.

Our plastic container on the kitchen counter has recently been replaced by a designed compost bin. It has a filter and is easy to clean. With the lid kept in place there is no odor nor any enticement for fruit flies to gather.

So, when I am fixing dinner and cutting up the veggies for the salad or for cooking, the ends I don’t use get tossed into the compost bucket. I also put egg shells in it when I bake and the coffee grounds when I make a fresh pot. When the bucket gets filled, a short walk to the compost pile in the back yard is all it takes.

However, not everyone wants a pile of decaying vegetable matter in their yard, especially if they don’t garden and recognize the benefit of the feeding the nutrients back into the soil. Good News!!!  In the movement to becoming an outstanding example of a Zero Waste city, McMinnville will start having curbside pickup for yard waste and uncooked vegetable matter.yard-waste

You must sign up for the service, which is included in your trash and recycling service fee. Go to the Recology Website (http://recologywesternoregon.com.pages.services/opt-in) to reserve your bins.

Glass pick up is also available so sign up for that as well, especially if you drink as much wine as we do.  We’ll talk more about glass later.

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