Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Composting and Recycling ... In The Bathroom!

Now that you have a basic understanding of how a landfill works from my last post, why not apply the practice of recycling and composting in your bathroom? Add a small bucket (or two) next to your bathroom trash bin and set it aside for plastic (numbers 1, 2 and 6) and paper products and other recyclables. If you’re interested in composting you can compost the following bathroom items:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Hair from your brush
  • Lint
  • Plant trimmings
  • Soap scraps
  • Paper products (e.g. paper towel, toilet paper*, kleenex, cardboard rolls. *you should definitely flush your toilet paper down the toilet. It breaks down relatively easily in water, but if you use it to blow your nose or blot your face, you can dispose of it in the compost bin if you'd like)

Recycling allows us to reuse material. Composting allows us to produce rich and fertile soil (called humus) in a cost-effective way for use in vegetable, fruit and flower gardens. Many cities and townships like San Francisco are trying to encourage recycling and composting and offer free or discounted pick-ups of your blue (recycled) and green (compost) bins. If you’re interested in learning more about getting your compost and recycled waste picked up at your home, check out the EPA's "Where You Live" composting map and recycling map.

If you live in an apartment building, ask your landlord to provide your complex with this service. My apartment complex recycles but does not compost so I recently wrote the following short and simple letter to my landlord in the hopes of changing this. Feel free to send the same letter to your landlord (or even to your office building).

As a tenant at your apartment complex, I was wondering if you would consider getting our apartment a composting bin. The green carts are picked up at no additional charge and could greatly reduce our building's garbage volume every week. Let me know what we can do to make this happen. Thank you.

I also attached a link to a local composting service. And guess what? The next day I received an enthusiastic reply from my landlord that said they had ordered a composting bin for my apartment. The green bin was delivered the next day! Being green is very trendy these days. Your landlord may jump all over the composting and recycling idea if you express interest.

One more composting tip. If you plan to compost, you will need to use a compostable trash bag liner. You should be able to find these liners at Whole Foods, some Walgreens, and possibly your local hardware store. Try BioBag - their bags are 100% biodegradable.

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