My dad composted grass clippings for a few. Eventually the bits and pieces of banana peel, other food waste, and clippings turned to soil. However, my 8 year old self was not amused. Dirt was everywhere, why did we need more dirt? And why should I care about food waste?
Life went on and my 28 year old self wound up living in the agricultural state of Arkansas in 2015. Man are the people of Arkansas PROUD to be from Arkansas. I had never experienced anything like it. Folks wanted home grown everything, asked questions about what farm their meat was coming from, looked for Arkansas Made fill-in-the-blank, and supported local business… in a way that still blows my mind.
I suppose my home state of Florida is more of a melting pot. Everyone is from everywhere, and I’d dare to say that no one is particularly proud to be from there. It’s just a place you live that other states make fun of every election cycle. Spending 4 years in Little Rock made me stop and think about consumerism and the intricacies that my daily choices have on a global scale. I took a deep breath and decided it was time to start caring about Mother Nature. In word and in action.
If you’re not the story type and just want the scoop on making fancy, responsible dirt… skip on over to my “how to on urban composting”.
First came shopping at the local farmers markets. Then came eating out exclussively at local, family owned restaurants/bars. Next up was paying attention to household habits. Super overwhelming on that one. It was and, to be honest, still is exhausting researching, learning, and putting into practice an entirely new way of living life. To top it off, I’m one of those people who calls it quits if something doesn’t work by the second or third try. I was not blessed with a tremendous amount of patience… heh.
As anticipated, two days into being a more responsibly “green” human being and advocating for Mother Nature, I quit. Give me all the plastic and paper towels stat!
Then, out of nowhere it hit me. No one every expects anyone to do anything over night. I mean, we give each other endless amounts of grace and tell ourselves we are beautiful while we eat a bag of cookies on the treadmill. Why not extend myself some of this grace while learning to be a good steward?
And that’s exactly what I did. Gave myself grace.
Per usge, I ended up clicking my way through Google and stumbled across various sources discussing greenhouse gasses. I was mortified, embarrassed, and all sorts of guilt ridden to discover that the trash can of an average American consumer/market is 40% food waste. That said food, as it decomposes in it’s plastic trash bag, emits methane gasses and contributes about 900 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year to our atmosphere. Re-read that.
Automatically I was suspicious. Data, schemata, research, schmesearch… I’m naturally suspicious of “facts”. I’m old enough and savvy enough to understand that numbers are always – ALWAYS – skewed to fit an agenda. So I got wrapped up in that whole red vs blue, conservative vs liberal, who’s telling less of a lie yada yada.
It’s so hard to have a conversation about global warming and planet care without being accused of hating the planet or hating God. I’ve never understood that. In the midst of my back and forth- this beautiful realization from my faith hit me. One that comes straight from the beginning of it all, Genesis. We were given dominion over all the earth- a heavenly order of responsibly and accountability for all He created. Those words resounded deep in my heart and set the tone for all that was to come on this adventure of becoming a crunch.
Literally Throwing Away Money
All the resounding in my heart wasn’t going to give me results. Like anything, practice makes perfect, so that’s what I got to doing. Practicing. I decided to take my food waste uber serious. First, I made note of how much food I was actually throwing out… because Lord knows I didn’t believe the quoted stat of 40%. WRONG as in **I** was wrong. My household of 2 was tossing so much food it wasn’t funny. How had I let this happen?! How had I not cared?!
Forget greenhouse gasses, the money I was literally tossing in the can was ridiculous.
You know, that head of lettuce you were going to eat but then never took out of the plastic before transferring that plastic bag filled with slimy lettuce over to the plastic bag in your trash can? Yah. That head of lettuce.
Living With Compassion
I set conspiracy aside and let compassion take over. Compassion for the world I was given, the one I am to responsible to steward, and I started to compost. What a pain. Not glamorous at all, plus real stinky, lots of learning curves, and inconvenient to my normal kitchen flow. For the most part, I cook every meal every day so my kitchen flow is in fact a big deal.
We were way broke (still are) so I rigged up an trashcan with locking lid and drilled a million holes in it. Placed a silver bowl on my counter to collect scraps and called it a day. I had such a habit of tossing food in the can that I literally passed my silver compost bowl to throw food out in the trash… and then found myself digging in said trash 30 minutes later to retrieve the food for compost. Disgusting and not at all what the internet and super cute blogs had made it out to be. But, I stuck with it. Digging through the trashcan to recover lost food and all.
Two months later, composting had become such a part of routine I wasn’t even thinking about it. It just happened.
One Year Later
Fast forward a few and my husband and I stumbled on a rotating composter thrown curbside. We checked it out only to find it had been booted due to a broken handle. A broken handle folks. $15 dollars of composting glory for the taking. So we took it. Shortly after, we splurged $24 bucks and snagged a counter top composter for the kitchen (the one linked down below), which essentially eliminated nasty smells and made the whole process of food transfer a cinch.
Here I am, a year and some change, composting like a pro and so, so, so proud of myself for not calling it quits. Part of this success I owe to realizing my Biblical responsibility of stewardship. Part I owe to my decision of focusing one ONE thing- not 20.
I honestly don’t think composting would have become an integral part of my day if I had also been trying to overhaul my entire life into sustainability at once.
If there’s something I need to know, which shouldn’t be hard because I need to know WAY more than I currently do, drop a note below. Bet your bottom I’ll research it stat and report back!
You’ve made it to the part where I now remind you to check out my how to on urban composting!
Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~