Monday, June 23, 2014

Fishing... Or Cutting Bait... in CompostLandia

I have been making soil for 6 years.

It all started back after my first year at Eagle Cove School.  I spent that year training my students what goes in paper recycling, what goes in co-mingled recycling, and what goes into composting. .As a Maryland "Green" School--that's what you do.  That's what we did.  You educated the youth--that younger population. With all of that (plus the extras like juice pouches that we upcycled with Terracycle), there wasn't much left for any kind in our class of "real trash."  I came home that summer, making salads galore, intent to live a healthy lifestyle of good food choices, and I was struck with a bit of an ethical/environmental dilemma.  I've composted at school--what the heck do I do with that green pepper innard?  I found myself incapable of throwing away "garbage" that was no longer garbage.  It was now compost.  Hence, "the dreaded Dabrowka bucket" (as it became known as at ECS) was born.

So.... for 6 years, I brought my li'l green camo bucket to school every Friday, to be weighed and emptied by some poor 5th grader (who probably got the short straw in the draw).  Being a home compost (that regularly carried the remnants of a newly-cleaned-out-fridge), it always surpassed the class composts of apple cores, napkins, and sandwich crusts.  Along those lines, it even surpassed the coffee-grounds & grown up lunches of the Teacher's Lounge compost bucket in weight, volume, stench, and sometimes even grosser things.  Many years, there was the educational discussion on the merits of garbage-ology (and all that you can learn) from just the Dabrowka Bucket.  It basically was urban legend 6 years in--and even sometimes the topic of 5th grade graduation speeches.

So.... here I am now.  My classroom is empty, my school is closed, the Fort Knox of compost lies awaiting the ability to make soil, without any kind of invitation to me to really come back and visit--as it is in the middle of changing guards & arms. I cannot make soil there, nor is my compost welcome anymore.  Fort Knox is mine no longer.  And yet, I have a 5 gallon bucket that's ready for delivery!

So.... what the heck do I do now?  I think I am at that proverbial crossroads called "fish or cut bait."  To compost or not to compost--that is the question.  In the interim, 6 years of habits die hard.  I have a very full compost bucket of 2 weeks' worth of food waste.  My 5-pound bucket keeps moving a little further on our patio, away from our back door.  Flies are hovering, wanting desperately to get in.  So I either need to go back to the idea of dumping food waste in our trash, leading to the dumping of post-dated leftovers in the landfill....or, I need to come up with a backyard composting plan.  Moving toward methane-production in the landfill isn't making this girl happy.  I'm starting to survey to see what might be worth the purchase.  No definitive decisions yet.  However, if you are an individual that holds some inside info on this subject, I'd be glad to learn more--so send forth any die-hard details & good ideas in the composting department!!

Until then, I am "mushing" food deeper into my 5-gallon compost bucket, making room for more & more....thinking longingly of Eagle Cove's School's Fort Knox composting heap while I try to figure out where to go from here.

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