Compost & Recycling: Hand In Hand

21 Jun

This blog chronicles my family’s commitment to compost, but it recently dawned on me that My Daily Compost tells only a portion of our eco efforts.  We’ve been voluntarily backyard composting for over a decade.  Why?  Putting perfectly good food down the disposal felt wrong and since my kids eat a pretty fruit & veggie heavy diet, I had lots of good looking peels, skins & rinds.  Compost was the obvious answer.  We bought a slick looking compost bin that instantly weathered and provided lots of rich soil for our newly built garden boxes and lovingly tended home-grown veggies (and roses).

Fast-forward five years and we moved into a home without gardens or a disposal.  Imagine!  It was a tricky time with a newly arrived preemie baby, so I guiltily tossed my scraps in the trash and looked the other way.   After nurturing our transplanted roses with store-bought compost and finally building gorgeous new vegetable beds, it was a no-brainer to quickly build a much simpler compost bin from the cast-off pallets from some home-improvement project.  Yay!  I felt virtuous again!  It was the perfect little home eco-cycle: grow food/eat food/compost waste/add composted waste back to garden/grow new food. Perfect.

Now we only grow a fraction of what we eat thanks to hot, humid, often unpredictable Atlanta weather.  Plus, we are committed to organic gardening, which can be a little more complicated.  What do we do with the packaging from all the rest of our food?  Recycle, of course.

So, we belong to that generation that saved up and sorted our glass, plastics, magazines  and newspapers and drove them to the recycling center periodically.  We’d happily sort and run around trying to find the appropriate bins to dispose of everything, feeling the virtuous green glow of earth friendly vibes.

Today recycling is even easier.  My trash company picks up nearly every plastic, cardboard, glass and paper product and it all goes in one bin.  No sorting!  (Although I sometimes wonder how and when it’s sorted and where it goes …)  And since we read our news and pay many bills online there is much less paper waste.  We’ve completely eliminated plastic water bottles and of course I use my own bags.  The few plastic bags we do accumulate are recycled at the local grocery store or put to use for trash.  The goal: to eliminate as much unnecessary waste as possible.

Here’s a peek at my recycling for the week:


I couldn’t keep all those containers on my counter, so here’s the rest of my stuff, minus the few sports drink bottles my son & his friends drank & promptly put in the bin while mulching our backyard.  (Trees were being cut down in our neighborhood and I scored an ENTIRE DUMP TRUCK full of pretty rough mulch – FREE.  After three solid weekends of my husband hauling, it cost me $200 to have teenagers finally finish the job.)


So, how about you?  Are you a recycler?  A composter?  A wanna be?  Start small.  Start simple – and like a popular sports company says, “just do it.”

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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Compost How To


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