What IS a baby steps challenge? Back in April, I wrote this post about how even though I'd committed to Buy Nothing New during 2009, I didn't feel like a very good role model for green living. So I pledged to Go Green, and gave myself a list of goals, like switching to homemade cleansers and line-drying the laundry, that I would attempt once a month.
So far, I made an effort to stop unwanted catalogs and junk mail in May, and started air-drying laundry in June. Both challenges have been very successful, with a few caveats. So I'm ready to start composting, and I hope some of you will join me as I make my way through this unfamiliar territory.
I was attracted to the simplicity of The Frugal Girl's method of composting, so I thought I'd start by getting a plastic tub. I asked my husband if I could use one we already have, but all the ones we own are in use, and none are ready to be replaced. So I googled something like "composting in Los Angeles" and ended up on the website of the Department of Sanitation, where I learned that once a month I could purchase a bin for $5. That date is a week from tomorrow, so I'll start by getting that bin.
I'll also start reading up on how to compost on some other websites. I need to answer some very basic questions, such as:
What exactly CAN be composted and what CAN'T? I know eggshells are a yes, and meat is a no. I'm unclear on cooked vegetables, paper towels, and dairy.
What's a simple way to transfer items from the kitchen to the compost bin? Do people use a "limbo" area, a smaller bin just outside the kitchen door, or maybe inside the kitchen?
How long does it take to have usable compost for gardening? And what's with the whole "worm" thing? I can remember digging for worms when I was about three, but I'm not really looking forward to playing with worms, and I don't do any fishing.
My main purpose for doing this is to avoid the food waste. It's terrible for the environment to send food to a landfill. The compost itself will be a bonus. I don't even know if I'll use it, because our yard is a drought tolerant landscape, and I don't think it needs that kind of soil. But I can probably arrange to give my compost to someone with a vegetable garden, assuming this all works out.
One of my readers offered to point me in the right direction when I took on the challenge of composting, and even claimed it was easy. So William B, if you're out there, I'm ready to be pointed!
And anyone else who has any tips or advice, I can use all the help I can get! Also, please let me know if you'd like to join me in this challenge, or if you're an old pro at composting. You can leave your thoughts in the Comments section.