Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It's Not Too Late!

Compost out of the barrel before sifting
Sifted compost ready for the garden
Lovin' my compost today--see the pics of the finished compost I just dumped out of my composting barrels today.

We didn't have a big group for the first night of the Master Composter course yesterday, but it's going to be a great class. However, if you weren't able to attend because you didn't get the word in time, no worries--you can still take part in the rest of the course. This Thursday's class will be at the Sanitation Department--the class will likely move after that to a location better suited to hands on compost making.

The first night we talked about the Yardwise program. Americans are crazy about lawns, which leads to a lot of problems, not the least of which is poor water quality. For example:
  • 90% of the pesticides uses are used on lawns. 
  • Lawn grass is the most heavily irrigated crop in the US.
  • 75% of river and lake pollution comes from landscaping.
The basic elements of the Yardwise program are:
  • Landscape design 
  • Grasscycling (Don't bag it)
  • Mulching
  • Composting
  • Integrated pest management
Of course, the primary emphasis of the course is composting. Other than water quality issues, the City wants to encourage composting to extend the life of our landfill by diverting a significant percentage of the waste out of the waste stream. Although Wichita Falls now diverts 22 - 25 tons of compostable waste from the landfill, only about 25% of homes participate in the program. Curbside pickup of compostable materials constitutes only 10% of the waste the city uses to make compost. This is crazy. Almost 2/3 of the stuff we throw in the trash can be composted. Landfills are costly to build and it takes a long time to get all of the permitting done, for good reasons. If you don't want to pay for a new landfill, quit sending stuff there.

We have a great city composting program. Although I compost most of my kitchen scraps (except meat/dairy) and a lot of yard waste, any organic can be sent to the city composting program. I put out a full can almost every week, filled with cardboard and paper primarily. I don't put out much regular trash. There are sometimes 2 or 3 weeks between putting out a regular trash container (and if I could get better cooperation from the other household members, I bet we could do twice as well.)

I was under the impression that if you live in a house with alley dumpster pickup you couldn't have an organics container. But according to Dave Lehfeldt at the Sanitation Department, that is not true. So those of you who heard the same thing, call them and order a cart (see the phone number is the link above.)

My point? Everyone needs to compost. If you don't have the room or the inclination for your own compost pile, then order up an organics container.  I hope to see more people at the Thursday night class.

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