Thanks to the Pennsylvania Resources Council, I am now the proud owner of an Earth Machine. The PRC offers affordable backyard composting classes, where they break down (forgive the pun) the basics of composting and provide attendees with a bin. While composting has intrigued me for some time, I was surprised to discover several key points. Namely, it doesn’t smell bad if done correctly, it’s easy, it doesn’t require much space, and it doesn’t take very long.
If you garden with herbs, fruits and veggies, flowers or trees and shrubs, composting can provide you with a great way to amend the soil in just a few weeks. Using the same ground for years at a time has reduced some of the nutrients in my already typically Pittsburgh clay-like yard, but composting creates dark, rich humus that restores beneficial qualities to the soil. Composting is also a great way to reduce the amount of yard and kitchen waste I leave on the curb for the city to collect. Municipal waste management is among the highest costs cities must deal with, and it feels good to know that I’m doing my part to help my garden, the environment and the city budget at the same time.
One more bit of good news about recycling…even though I’m doing what I can to battle the devastating effects of plastic bags, recycling my 1s through 5s, and composting has reduced my weekly garbage day contribution, all the junk mail, old bills, magazines and other paper I throw away still weighs on my conscience. Not anymore though! This week I discovered the Paper Retriever bins–bright yellow and blue dumpsters placed throughout communities where people can drop off paper to be recycled. Their locator showed me that there are two right by my house.
Michael Pollan recently wrote a moving call to action for small, individual eco-actions, and as I take the time to set up systems for my everyday activities, going green gets easier and easier.