All three composting options accepted: fruit and veggie scraps, tea and coffee grounds, nut shells, dust, lint, hair (human or animal), cardboard, newspaper, and washed crushed eggshells. But their added possibilities differed. Here is how they compared:
The city picks up compostable plastics that are clearly labeled, but they will not accept biodegradable plastics, as “they biodegrade at different temperatures than organic materials and therefore don’t compost well together” (says my compost hauler). Also, these plastics can’t be distinguished from other plastics during processing. So it is best to just stay away from them altogether. Mostly sold in the form of disposable products, they can easily be avoided with reusables.
And although the City compost’s “digestibility” seems limitless, it cannot accept the obvious: Aluminum foil or trays, “biodegradable” plastic, ceramic dishware or glassware, flower pots or trays (they must get those often to make of point of it), foil-backed or plastic-backed paper, rocks or stone, but also the less obvious: clothing and linens, cooking oil, corks, animal waste, dirt, or wax cardboard. Wax paper was accepted at first but no longer is, probably a result of people throwing the plastic coated paper instead of the waxed kind, in their city bin. They are hard to tell apart.
Whatever system you end up choosing, the most important part of composting is collecting compostable material. Obviously without it, your composting system is worthless 😉
I have found that the receptacle makes it a success for the whole family if:
- It is large enough: As I mentioned in a previous posting, our compost bin used to be our trash bin. A large container will reduce the number of trips to your composter. Any container will do. You do not need to purchase a carbon top receptacle (the filter needs to be replaced and your money can be better spent elsewhere). Compost does not smell. We empty ours once a week and during that time it just does not have time to decompose to a stinky point (we freeze meat and fish scraps until pick up day).
- It is aesthetically pleasing: Many drop the idea of composting because they can’t stand the idea (and I don’t blame them) of having a “dirty” container on their counters, as most receptacles are advertised. But who said the container had to be displayed on your counter? We would never think of putting our soiled trash cans on our counters. Ironic when you realize that the soiling icky bits stuck to the outside of trash cans are compostable. Under your sink is even better. Out of site, but not out of mind, if its large. Apply rule #1 first.
- It is easily accessible: In a slide out tray under the sink, our receptacle is within easy reach where we process most of our veggie/fruit scraps. We wash the veggies at the sink, and then peel straight into the bin. Since we use the City compost, this location is also convenient to discarding table scrapings that Zizou will not eat, before loading the dishwasher – he loves Brussels sprouts, but not avocado !?:)
I am so glad I have this article out of me! My procrastination is over. I can now move on to better things, like fertilizing my plant wall with worm tea;)