First off, thanks to Amanda for letting me guest blog on her awesome site. I have never seen so much great eco-info all in once place. I try to be as green as I can, taking into consideration cost and practicality. But happily, there more ways to save than to spend while being eco conscious. I’m here to tell you about one of them my husband and I do.
Composting. Sounds messy and gross, but actually it can be a lot of fun. And it’s a real conversation starter – “Oh, please don’t throw your food away. Put it in this bowl on our counter. We save it and throw it outside in our bin.” You should see the looks we get. But most of our friends become really interested once we start telling them what we plan on doing with all our “trash” outside. I’ve had people actually save things like egg shells (which are wonderful for compost) from their kitchens to give to me when I visit. It can be a little awkward accepting food scraps at first from friends – you want to assure others you are not homeless or in desperate need of a meal – but it’s become wonderful to get and know they feel like in a small way they are helping the environment too.
My husband and I first started composting after seeing a really cute bin in a Williams Sonoma catalog. Too bad the thing was like $200 to throw food and leaves into. We passed and ended up finding one in Home Depot for around $50. It was a cinch to put together, like a little house with 4 plastic sides and a pop up lid. Since it was summer, we started to fill it with our grass clippings and old food.
However, we live in a really windy place, so one night we heard a huge bump against our house and both looked at each other in horror. Racing outside, we found… nothing. The bin had blown away. All the way down to our neighbors home where it smashed up against the side of her house. Grass clippings everywhere. We picked it up, silently praying she wouldn’t come out and ask what on earth we were doing. The next day, we stuck iron stakes all around it. It’s never moved since.
We plan on using the compost for our garden this summer. We live in a rocky soil area, so having soil rich in nutrients will help tremendously with plant growth. In other words – everything we put in the ground dies. Or is eaten by deer.
Speaking of which, the deer often stop by our home to look into the compost bin. I will forget to shut the lid and they can smell it. So I’ll see them prance across our lawn and the next thing you know there’s a small herd all gathered round eating out of it. Because it’s illegal to feed the deer, we really should keep it closed. (Sometimes I feel bad when they look skinny so I “accidentally” keep it open. I love deer.)
Composting creates it’s own natural heat to break down the food and organic material you throw in. We try to avoid tossing in things with pesticides or any type of chemicals, because it affects how the soil feeds the plants later on. Also, don’t put in things like meat, fish, plastic, metal – because, um, well metal and plastic don’t break down, and meat and fish make it stink. And rot. So unless you’re a fan of maggots, meat stays in the trash.
There are surprising things you can put in, like dryer and vacuum cleaner lint. Hair – both human and pet. (We put cat hair from when we clean up the couches, but I pass on human hair. Weirds me out.) Coffee and tea grounds, and wax paper. There is a bowl on our counter where we throw in the food scraps during cooking, and keep them until it’s full. Sometimes one of us will forget to empty it and when I wake up in the morning it causes me to search throughout the house looking for the animal that died. That only happens after a few days of putting things in though. It was amazing to me the amount of food scraps we just tossed. Even though it still bothers me when we find something in the fridge that went bad a month ago, at least it can be used to help us have more soil.
Being eco friendli-er doesn’t have to be hard, or costly. It can pay off later on when things you would have tossed out anyway save you money on buying expensive dirt. It’s little changes that can make a big difference in your life and the world around you, and you just might end up having the most popular house on the block – according to the deer anyway.
Hey, Amanda here!
I just wanted to give a great big thank you to Diana for this great and entertaining post 🙂