With a bow



Recycling in New Jersey is a pain. I can only imagine the book of rules, no joke, was created as a deterrent. That said, I have yet to find a job and I’ve will happily jump through the necessary hoops to see that these items are sent to the right facility, instead of just carried away with our trash can. This involves tying like items together, marking the junk mail in one bag and the newspapers in another, etc. It doesn’t take long, but I can imagine is a huge hurdle for anyone with little time.

I’ve been laughing lately at the news out of NYC. The mayor controversially wants to enforce a “food scraps recycling program.” AKA: composting. Can you imagine how much compost could be created from NYC in one day? Also: for the international readers — can you believe that this isn’t something we Americans inherently know we are supposed to do?

I’ve seen, and previously owned and broken, the Rachel Ray trash bowl that sits on your counter for compost. Rather that spend the $20 to replace this, I spent $1 on a larger plastic bowl that sits beneath our kitchen sink. In our area, you are not allowed to have a garbage disposal. As such, all food waste that doesn’t contain animal products goes in the green bowl:

Prosecco + pasta

The perks of composting this way:

1. If you live in a humid environment, like New Jersey, this stuff will compost quickly outside.

2. You have to take out a lot less trash, using fewer trash bags.

3. If you are a gardener, this stuff will be gold, especially if you have patience. Add some worms from your local fishing store and watch out. You’ll have amazing humus. No, not pita humus. This kinda hummus. 

4. You’ll get more exercise, especially if you place your composting area wisely a good distance from your house.

5. You will likely think twice about buying sub-par, out of season fruits and vegetables from a big box store that your family won’t finish, leaving you to later compost. The process can’t help but bring you closer to nature — you’ll be begging for the snow to melt so you aren’t digging and dumping your full bowl. And if you are like me, it will give you a deep sense of environmental smugness that is entirely undeserved as a global over-consumer.

The cons:

1. If you have a dog and haven’t spent the time enclosing your compost area, chances are you will have a dog who finds a way to eat whatever he can out of this area. Yuck.

2. You may attract other animals into your compost area. Shoo!

3. More trash. More trash bags. More hauling the dumb trash can back and forth. Urg!

Morals to this story:

New Jersey — I see your recycling laws and I will meet them. Also, I am composting. So there!

The end,




4 Replies to “With a bow”

  1. I have yet to compost. I really need to do it! I’m in CA so you know they have recycling all over here. Yet none of my neighbors possess a recycling bin. In the city they are just there but you have to request them out where I live. I downsized my garbage can and have a huge recycling one for the same price I was paying just for trash.

  2. Yep, the dog thing is what keeps me from doing this! Although I guess I could set up a compost area on the side of the house outside our fenced backyard…? (so inconvenient, wah wah wah) I tried to do the worm composting thing but I kept forgetting to water them and they’re kinda picky, they really prefer their food to be chopped up really small. As the saying goes, ain’t nobody got time for that.

  3. Ha! I remember, when I lived in NY, sorting my recycling and tying newspapers and magazines up with twine …I had three recycling bins! Here in IL, everything just gets thrown together and it makes me wonder if it is really being recycled.

  4. Apply your leaf compost (aka leaf mold) when it looks dark and crumbly, and you can no longer recognize the original contents (except for small bits of stems). Work your compost into the top inch of existing soil to amend it. Use bark mulch sparingly—a very thin layer (no more than 1 inch) on top of the compost layer works well. Whole cedar tree forests have been clear-cut to satisfy consumers’ desire for unnecessary bark mulch.

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