Compost. The word evokes the image of wriggly worms and deep, dark brown almost black soil, full of nutrients, ready to be mixed into the garden.
It starts inside your house. In your kitchen. In your bathroom. In your office or living room or bedroom.
Compost is produced outdoors but it originates with items you might be tossing into your trash can designed to go to the landfill. That has to change and you can make that change easily.
In the kitchen, when you are preparing veggies for a salad or even cooking as part of a meal, the ends and pieces you trim are compostable. (They are also reusable! I store a gallon ziplock bag in the freezer until it is full and then cook up some vegetable broth either for soup or to can. THEN the cooked veggies head to the compost pile).
Also in the kitchen, your coffee grounds, your paper coffee filter, tea bags or loose tea, eggshells, nut shells (except for walnut shells which kills plants), bread and crackers (even if there is mold), chips, cookies and cake, cardboard egg cartons, paper towels and napkins, wooden skewers, and so much more!
In the bathroom, your used kleenex (yes, even the ones you used to stop your bloody nose), hair from your hairbrush and razor, nail clippings, and so much more!
In the laundry room, the lint from the dryer as well as cut up pieces of natural (cotton, wool) fabric.
From the office or around the house: dust bunnies, shredded up office paper and newspaper, used matches, shredded cardboard, and so much more!
Check out a list of 100 items that can be composted; items that you regularly use and have. Do not put them in your landfill trash any more. By sorting these into compost you will be able to get the smaller garbage bin from Recology and enjoy a decrease in your bill!
Ok, now what do you do with it? Depends on your lifestyle. If you live in an apartment and have no place to even have a small container garden, then your best option is to offer friends with space for a backyard compost pile your bagged up collection to add to theirs!
If you have a garden (vegetables or flowers) then having compost will be something you can easily consider. You can obtain a composter bin or tumbler priced between $50 and $200, depending on size. Or you can build a compost pile with some scrap wood, or, like us, some cinder blocks.
There are lots of EASY instructions about the best way to aerate your compost and the benefit worms add. Zero Waste McMinnville holds an annual Compostpaloosa each June where instructions are readily available and free compost is also handed out.