Community Compost – Engage your people!

Community Compost – Engage your people!

Using my own kitchen scraps for compost is a great, but slow-going, solitary way to fill up my compost. Start there of course, and enjoy it. But you don’t have to do it alone! I had started one compost pile in the yard and realized there were whole untapped parts of my community (my co-workers and friends) that I could work with to make my compost pile rich and diverse.  Compost Piles

I heard a co-worker talking about her rabbits, and I realized – rabbit pellets are EXCELLENT for composting because rabbits eat veggies… But am I going to get a rabbit myself? With two cats already, I’m probably not adding rabbits into the mix at the moment. But that was a mentality of having to do it all myself. I don’t need to own a rabbit, when someone in my community already is the loving owner of one. I can ask for help! It turns out she’s also an avid coffee drinker and has lots of coffee grinds to contribute. Coffee grinds are also excellent for the compost pile.  So she collects her grinds and put them in the mason jar (which could be stored in the fridge or freezer for the duration (week) they are being collected), then she’d bring me the mason jar to empty into my compost pile. I bring her back the jar, the cycle continues.

This goes both ways – if you don’t have a yard/compost pile, but you’d like to contribute to one, ask around – is there anyone you know that could use extra compost contributions?

After all – when food is disposed in a landfill it rots and becomes a significant source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Contributing to a compost pile where it is able to properly break down and the nutrients can be re-used and re-absorbed back into the soil is an excellent way to curb your greenhouse gas emissions.

Use an air tight mason jar to collect scraps from co-workers or friends to add to the compost.
Use an air tight mason jar to collect scraps from co-workers or friends to add to the compost.

Then, if you’ve got the compost pile, you can offer some of the compost to the people contributing.

It also starts a conversation among friends and co-workers about the environment and actionable steps they can take to improve the world around us. These small steps become empowering and may lead to new steps being taken in your community.

It may sound tiny – the community of friends and at your place of work – but it adds up and spans out. We see this in social media networks with friends of friends. It starts small, gets conversations going, educates those that are curious, and empowers people to make changes in their habits that benefit the planet.

Practical steps:

  1. Make connection in your network of friends and co-workers. Who has what to contribute? (Do you have the compost pile? Or are you contributing veggie shreds, coffee grinds, rabbit pellets, etc?)
  2. Get a mason jar or some other re-useable air tight environmentally friendly container (hint hint, mason jar).
  3. If you’re the contributor – Fill the mason jar with the coffee grinds, veggie waste, etc. Store it in the fridge or freezer as you collect to avoid it rotting before it gets into the compost.
  4. Trade the container back and forth with co-workers/friends.

BOOM.

I’m now up to three compost piles (thanks mostly to an influx of mulch that is being used to protect the ground against flooding in El Niño rains and to break down to replenish the soil). Now I’m allowing nature and the incredible little microorganisms to do their work breaking down the compost.

You don’t have to do it alone, and it’s much more fun to collaborate.

 

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