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suburban composting

suburban composting

We started composting in the spring, and it has been genuinely, surprisingly fun. Millburn ran this composting pilot program -- 50 households could sign up for access to new composting bins at the town yard to be guinea pigs for a possible larger program. We jumped right on it! We had to pay $50, watch a webinar, and pass a quick quiz (“Which of the following items is NOT compostable?”). Then we received an airtight bucket, biodegradable bags, and the lock combo for the town compost bins. Then every week a company picked up the town's compost and transported it to their industrial composting site. We were so excited that it’s kind of embarrassing. For the first week or so, throwing anything in our kitchen compost warranted a minor celebration. I couldn’t believe the amount of food waste we had been accumulating. It felt so good to know we could divert some of our trash from a landfill and convert it into a resource again! One time I went to this residency that had a steel compost drum larger than a casket in the yard. People can get used to anything, and I did get used to dumping my scraps into that thing... but barely. A hellish stew of nightmares simmered within. It was summer, and the smell would just slap you across the face when you opened it up. But that was nothing compared to what it looked like in there. I’ll spare you further description. Anyway, home composting ended up being nothing like that experience! Filling up a 5-gallon bucket is way different than filling up a hundred-gallon barrel. Then someone else does the stinky part. Well, sometimes our bucket smells a little vinegar-y. Like we’re accidentally making cider or something. When we bought our place in Orange, we were really bummed we had to stop composting. But then I searched up Java's Compost, the company with which Millburn had contracted for that pilot program… and Java does residential pickups! For a monthly fee, they'll scoop up scraps every other week and disinfect your bucket. Could it work? We don’t have any outdoor space, so keeping the bucket outside like we did in Millburn wouldn’t be an option. But there was that weird wine fridge in our new home’s kitchen, and we never drink wine... Praise be to the environmental gods! I removed the shelves from the inside and found a bucket that would fit in there. Voila! We have a compost fridge!



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