Composting is totally win-win. You divert waste from already-heaving, methane producing landfills, plus you create fertiliser which enriches your soil.
When you’re ready to start, first thing is to decide where you’ll put your waste. Once you’ve got that sussed, the rest is easy – it’s as simple as chucking your kitchen waste onto your heap, applying a few basic principles, and waiting for it to decompose into beautiful rich soil.
Whichever container you choose needs to have a lid. For urbanites in compact spaces, the best options are a compost bin or a bokashi system. If you’re feeling adventurous, or don’t mind a bit of muck, you could try worms. Here’s the lowdown on each:
Bokashi (meaning ‘fermented organic matter’) uses enzymes to ferment (‘pickle’) your waste. All food waste, including cooked meat and dairy, is thrown into a plastic bin and covered with a layer of bokashi (a powder that looks a lot like bran). When the bin is full, you close it and let it stand for about 2 weeks. It’ll then be ready to add to your compost heap.
Pros – can be kept inside
– can add cooked meat, dairy and bones
– speeds up the decomposition process
Cons – does not fully decompose waste – it still needs to be transferred to your compost bin or dug into your garden so it breaks down completely.
Worms are a great way to return nutrients to the soil. Worm casings (essentially their poo) create nutrient-rich vermicompost which improves soil fertility.
A wormery consists of a series of stacked buckets – we use three. The top two buckets are where the worms live and eat their way through our waste. When the middle bucket is full of compost, we start filling the top one with waste. Eventually all the worms will move into the top one (through a few holes in the lid), allowing us to harvest the compost in the middle bucket.
The bucket on the very bottom collects the liquid run-off, also know as ‘worm tea’, which is a great tonic for your soil if your compost is healthy. Worm tea can be diluted and used as a fertiliser.
A layer of egg cartons or newspaper on top of the food waste is handy for keeping fruit flies and other miggies out.
– good for compact spaces
– produces nutrient dense compost + worm tea
– can be a bit mucky to deal with
– can’t add meat or dairy.
A large container – an old tyre, a plastic bucket or a wooden container – where you throw your organic food waste. This includes fruit and veggie peels and scraps, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grinds.
For convenience, keep a little container on your kitchen counter and transfer the waste to your large bin every day or when it’s full.
To keep the acid / alkali balance of your compost bin in check, layer it with organic garden waste (grass clippings, leaves, plants, ash from your fire or paper products).
Pros – good option if you have a garden or outdoor area
Cons – can only take organic waste (meat, dairy and oils will make your pile stink and also attract rodents and other pests).
Top Composting Tips
To keep your compost balanced, aim for a good mixture of nitrogen-rich green waste (grass clippings, plants, organic food) and carbon-rich brown waste (branches, sawdust, paper products such as cardboard and egg cartons, straw). This helps keep the acid / alkali balance in check.
If you want your compost to be more acidic, add lots of citrus (orange peels) and coffee grinds. By contrast wood ash and egg shells are great neutralisers (wood ash has the added bonus of repelling slugs and snails).
Turn your compost regularly (every 6 weeks or so) and keep it moist (but not wet). Keep an eye on the temperature too – waste needs heat as well as moisture to decompose.
Keep it covered, in a dry, shaded area.
If you find yourself running out of space, have two or more containers on the go. That way you can use a second or third container when the first is full and doing. Here are some possible combinations:
Two bokashis in your kitchen
A bokashi in your kitchen and a bin outside
A worm bin and a bokashi.
We’ve got a large compost bin in the garden and when that’s full we top up our worms and use the bokashi for a few weeks, giving the bin time to break down and do its thing.
The irony of writing a blog post about the travails of social media is not lost on me. That’s the thing about it – it’s a beast fraught with contradictions. On one hand, it’s power to shape our thinking, give a voice to the voiceless and mobilise people into action is unparalleled. On the other, at the level of the everyday mundane, it’s a lot of meaningless chatter, an incessant buzz.
The online personas people craft may or may not be a true reflection of their real, everyday messy lives. We all get this, yet who can resist a vicarious scroll though the lives of those we’re secretly crushing on. Anyone not had a snoop around the profile of the one who got away, or of the one you’re happy to have gotten away from? When I lived overseas, I loved seeing snaps of the weddings I’d missed and of friends’ newborns I’d loved to have squeezed in real life.
Social media has always been just that for me – social. Until now, when I started an Instagram account to help grow my blog. Releasing my privacy settings gave me the jitters at first but it got me 7 whole followers. I had 9 a few days ago but I lost two.
The first time a stranger followed me I was super excited and secretly congratulated myself on my clever hashtags. The second time it was as thrilling. But, in a naive attempt to keep it real (we all want to grow our brand organically and authentically right) I thought I’d suss them out, see if I liked their feed and if we seemed compatible, and if we did, I’d follow them. I thought they’d give me time and space to do this but, within a day, poof! – they’d vanished. Unfollowed. I was back down to 7 followers.
It’s here that I checked in with my wise and hilarious yogi friend who’s generated an impressive Instagram following – she’s been coaching me and giving me titbits. She told me you have to play the game. So, curious to see if I could woo back my ex-followers after they’d dumped me, I started following them. But they weren’t prepared to forgive my tardiness or dish out second chances, they’d moved on. So I unfollowed them – and I still have 7 followers.
Apparently it’s a thing – people follow you just to get a follow, then unfollow you. And there are bots that generate automatic comments to attract followers – and apps that can track when people unfollow you. It’s a minefield and I’m not sure I’ve got what it takes. Having crossed over from social media as a mindless time waster to a potential marketing tool the goalposts have shifted and I find myself thinking more strategically, more sneakily. What tricks can I learn to bump up my following from a single digit to a double digit number? Can I compromise my morals, be a bit promiscuous and follow new followers without even checking them out? Like or even gush over the posts of complete strangers in the hope they’ll notice me? Have a few more ill-fated flings? I think so.
Social media – we can vilify it, ridicule it, and hypothesise about it’s detrimental effect on the very fabric of our society. But we can’t dismiss it. We can manage it’s intrusion into our lives and of course we can opt out completely, but despite our misgivings, how many of us feel able (or willing) to disconnect from it all. Social media is a platform, it’s a way of communicating a sliver of ourselves, presenting our shiny bits to the world. A place to showcase our professional wares, to broadcast our beliefs. It is, as anthropologists like to say, a construct. Be too much of a purist and it becomes very un-fun. Get hung-up on the authenticity of what people post and you might get jaded. Most of the time it is, essentially, a game, not grounded in reality, and I think we all get that, which is why it can be such fun to play.
My Instagram handle is @backyardanthropologist and I’m on the market.
Everything about lemons scream summer. That colour. The zestiness of lemonade and G&T’s, that cleansing hot drink first thing in the morning. One of the best degreasers, polishers and odour neutralisers around, they should be a household staple.
A potent source of Vitamin C, the trees are evergreen and produce fruit all year round. And best of all, growing them is easy, perfect for novice gardeners. What’s not to love?
To flourish, they just need the basics – sun, water and fertiliser. The last being free if you pee on your tree – the nitrogen in urine is said to be the best natural fertiliser (double bonus as you save on flushing the loo too). We’re trialling this at home and will report back on whether our lemon tree survives, thrives or dies.
Lemon trees grow well in pots and look fabulous on balconies and terraces. And they transfer well if you want to plant them out.
Like many fruit trees, they may take a while to get going, not producing any fruit for the first few years, so hang in there.
They’re self-pollinating, which means you’ll only need one of them to bear fruit. Avos by contrast are cross-pollinators – you’ll need two or more trees for them to fertilise.
Choose a sunny aspect – too much shade makes them susceptible to disease. You’ll know your lemon tree is sick if the leaves start curling or become bumpy. Check under the leaves for scale and sooty mould (which look like white mould). Neem oil or good old cloth and soapy water is supposed to help here, or you could ask your local nursery for an eco-friendly spray.
Modern life is unimaginable without plastic. Lightweight and durable, it’s infinitely useful and is everywhere – in our homes and workplaces, our public spaces, our landfills, and – perhaps most disconcertingly – in our oceans. Estimates are that by 2050 there’ll be more plastic in the sea than fish.
Plastic pollution has a devastating impact on marine eco-systems. Turtles, birds and other sea creatures mistake bags and other plastic debris for food and choke on it, are suffocated by it, or starve to death as they can’t digest it. Particularly insidious are microplastics – pieces smaller than 5mm in length – which are ingested by fish and ultimately find their way into our food.
Though a relatively small part of the problem (other single-use packaging is a much bigger contributer to pollution), shopping bags are a very visible reminder of our addiction to plastic. Estimates vary, but the figure bandied about is somewhere between 4 and 8 billion plastic bags produced annually in South Africa. The number itself is disconcerting, but what’s even more troubling is that the bags aren’t being widely recycled, they’re ending up in landfill.
What does the law say?
Plastic bag legislation was first introduced in South Africa in 2003. Government adopted a two-pronged approach. It enforced the manufacture of thicker bags to replace the flimsy ‘national flower’ that could be seen littering our landscape (it was also hoped the thicker bags would encourage re-use). And it introduced a plastic bag tariff, to discourage their use.
In 2004 a manufacturing levy of 4c (now 8c) was introduced – the money collected was meant to be used for the creation of buy-back centres and recycling facilities. Buyisa-e-Bag, a non-profit organisation, was set up to manage the process, but failed to fulfil it’s mandate and was wound up in 2011.
Controversy continues to swirl around the nearly R1.3 billion collected in levies since 2004. Representatives in the plastic industry say it’s become a green tax that goes straight into government coffers (the money is not ring-fenced, so the DEA has to apply to access the funds). Annabe Pretorius, an independent consultant in the industry, says “the plastics industry has approached the government for funds to help with recycling on various occasions, through different bodies, and so far we have got zero.”
Where are our bags ending up?
John Kieser, the Sustainability Manager for Plastics SA, explains that there is a market for post-consumer (used) plastic bags – they can be recycled into irrigation pipes or granulated and re-made into plastic bags or black bags. But the reality is, they aren’t being collected and recycled, because – quite simply – they’re not a high-value recycling item. He says “The reason you see all those bags flying about out there is because there is no demand for them.” Because they’re very light, it’s difficult to collect enough of them to get the tonnage required to make recycling them viable, he explains.
Steven Cheetham of Atlantic Recycling has been at the coalface of the plastics recycling industry for 30 years and also spoke about the low recycling rate of plastic bags. “Waste collectors don’t pick the plastic bags because recyclers aren’t buying them – there’s no weight in them. They’re also problematic to recycle. They’re very thin so tend to fold in the washing process, and they’re hard to dry.”
But the biggest problem, according to Cheetham, is the high percentage of calcium carbonate (essentially chalk) that’s added to the bags. “Virgin polymer is based on the oil price and when oil went to a hundred dollars the price of polymer shot through the roof. So to reduce the price of the end product – the bag – manufacturers put calcium carbonate in, which is half the price of virgin polymer. So it’s a huge saving to the manufacturer, and to the brand owner,” he explained.
Why is this cost-cutting a problem for recyclers such as Cheetham? He explains the science behind it. “We wash plastic and it floats because it’s got a 0.9 density, so any paper or sand or stone will sink. Anything with a density less than 1 will float. The minute you put calcium carbonate in, it goes over that and it doesn’t float anymore. It sinks to the bottom of our tank along with the mud – we have to throw it away, it goes to landfill. And we’ve paid for it, so it’s a loss to our company.”
He’s angered by what he calls ‘green washing’ on the part of retailers. It’s good for business to be perceived as green, so retailers print messages on the bags urging consumers to recycle them – despite the fact that the increasing levels of filler (and of ink) being added makes them hard to recycle.
Plastic bags – a money spinner?
Cheetham believes retailers are making money off the bags. “It’s their biggest selling single line item. They’ve got their spin doctors on it the whole time so the consumer doesn’t actually know what’s cooking.”
Retailers can charge what they want but the average price consumers pay for a bag is 50c. According to Pretorius, each bag costs 25c to make. On top of that, 8c goes towards the manufacturing levy. Who profits from the remaining 17c per bag is unclear. Retailers insist it’s a break-even situation with no clear profits for them.
Hayley McLellan, environmental campaigner and founder of ‘Rethink the Bag’ deals a lot with the major retailers and says “In terms of a plastic bag ban, retailers just want to know they’re not going to lose feet through the door due to a perceived inconvenience to the customer. They also want to know what the alternatives are; they are concerned it will cost them more. But in fact, retailers could have reusable bags made locally – benefitting both them and local communities. Win win and a win for the environment!”
Retailers do seem loathe to get rid of the bags. One said they’d need a clearer indication of how consumers would react and another believes it could have a chaotic outcome, because when trialled, they had strong push back from customers who demanded they be given a bag.
Which begs the question – where are we, the consumers, in all this? If the levy is being mismanaged, our bags aren’t being recycled and are clogging up our landfills and polluting our seas after their short trip home from the grocery store, shouldn’t we rethink them?
Assuming our leaders lack the political will to ban the bags, our retailers are too invested in them to make any changes and recycling them is fraught with challenges, is the onus not on individuals to do something? At which point, it’s time to fess up. I only recently stopped buying plastic bags. I’d bought the re-useable ones years ago but was quite lukewarm in my attempts and could never get into the habit of carrying them around with me. It just comes down to awareness. At some point, when the busyness of modern life subsides, you read a statistic or see an image that stays with you or spend a morning walking on an infuriatingly littered beach and you realise that if you’re part of the problem you can be part of the solution.
It’s not unlike the recent Stikeez scenario – people reacted strongly and lambasted Pick ‘n Pay for their irresponsibility. I don’t think we should let Pick ‘n Pay off the hook, but retailers are profit driven, and can we truly blame them for giving customers what they want? We’re the ones that create the demand by being complacent and giving in to our nagging kids. Likewise, if shoppers keep buying plastic shopping bags, we are condoning the norm of supplying them.
Stemming the tide
Dr Robertson-Andersson of the UKZN’s MACE lab has been studying the impact of microplastics on our oceans. As she points out, every piece of plastic dumped in our oceans still exists, it just eventually breaks down into micoplastics. She shared some alarming statistics on marine pollution – estimates are that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square km of ocean, or, put another way, over 3 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean.
But we can stem the tide. Here are a few small tweaks you can make that will help keep plastic debris out our oceans:
Use reusable shopping bags. Or re-use your plastic shopping bag as many times as possible.
Avoid or cut back on single-use packaging. Ditch the straws, steer clear of individually wrapped sweets and heavily-packaged groceries, invest in re-usable coffee cups and water bottles.
Use the power of your wallet. A growing problem are plastic micro-beads added to cosmetics. They get washed down the basin, into our rivers and ultimately, our oceans. Dr Robertson-Andersson says “South Africa has some of the best legislation in the world, we have to state what’s in every product. And because we do, as a consumer, we can choose whether to buy products that contain plastics or not. All you need to do is turn the product over and take a few seconds to read the ingredients.”
Just as you check snacks for ‘E’ ingredients, here’s a list of plastic-containing ingredients to look out for in toiletries and cosmetics:
What do you think? Should South Africa follow the lead of countries such as Rwanda and Bangladesh and ban the bag?
It’s a complex issue with many stakeholders, each with vested interests which they vehemently defend. Those who support a ban on the bag point to the environmental havoc they cause. Those who take a more moderate line argue that plastic recycling creates jobs and that the plastic bags are a valuable source of recyclate. And then there’s the delicate balancing act of ensuring we don’t replace one problem with another – some would argue for instance that paper bags have a higher carbon footprint than plastic ones.
It’s certainly an issue that can’t be dealt with in isolation – tackling it will be a huge collaborative effort. Until then, our part is to help keep them out our landfills and our oceans.
My ongoing love affair with succulents has intensified since our level 3 water restrictions kicked in. Hardy, versatile and low-maintenance with endlessly fascinating hues and contours, they’re the perfect drought tolerant plant. They don’t sap our water supply, and they absorb radiation. They seldom wilt. And they bounce back quickly after a bit of neglect.
Sculptural and beautiful to look at, ‘Bloom where you’re planted’ perfectly encapsulates them – stick them just about anywhere and they’ll propagate, morphing into the most captivating shapes.
Gardens in our part of the world are looking parched – new plantings have withered and lawns have died. The relentless winds don’t help, ridding the air of every trace of moisture, making plants even more dry and brittle. But the succulents soldier on, asking for just a little water and care, and giving so much in return.
Reading for me is a tactile experience. You can’t curl up with a screen the way you can with a book or magazine. Scrolling through emails doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies the way poring over old letters does.
Books age well. They get thumbed, dog-eared, underlined, and sometimes defaced. They lose their covers (my pet book peeve). Letters fade and turn yellow, magazines get crumpled and tattooed with coffee rings. Kindles? Well, you can adjust the brightness and the font size, but screens are just screens – cold and inert.
The first few books I bought for my kids, I was torn over whether to scrawl their names on the inside – writing in books still feels a little like sacrilege. Now I love doing it. In a generation or two, their favourite childhood tales might end up on a second-hand bookshop shelf, in a place far removed from their current lives. The new owners might notice it, and wonder, even if for just a mili second, who Samuel and Noah Nicholson were.
Every time we move (which has been too often in the last decade) I do a major purge and declutter. My books and magazines are always spared (as are my letters and photos). I just can’t part with them, even the trashy ones that I know I’ll never look at again.
They also make the most fabulous decor items. How completely gorgeous is a stack of yellow National Geographic magazines piled high?
The point of this post – on a blog that is supposed to be about simplifying and de-accumulating? Books are the one thing I’ll never stop amassing. I just can’t make the switch to a kindle and my magazine fix can’t be online, it has to be the real, glossy thing.
Books, to me, enliven a home. And they can be passed on – again and again. What a gift in our single-use, high turn over world.
I love those gifs (or are they called memes?) that do the rounds on Facebook – about life in the eighties pre-technology when we rode our bikes everywhere, could only contact each other via landline, Pac Man was the only video game around and we never watched TV. A much simpler time, when we were told to make ourselves scarce or read a book if we were bored. Being scuttled off to OT, swimming lessons and pottery? Pah!
Incredible how things have changed in just one generation. Seems like right now, our kids, and us, have a lot more to worry about. Rhinos are nearly extinct. Our bee population is fast dwindling. By 2050 there’ll be more plastic in the sea than fish. The ice caps are melting and the sea rising. We’re running out of water. The Indonesian forests are burning. We’re consuming so much our landfills are running out of airspace. The food we eat is toxic and laden with preservatives. We’re hyper-connected yet many of us are still lonely and isolated. And while some of us gorge ourselves on meat and junk food, many of us are still starving to death. The pressure on our kids to perform has reached new heights (I’m pretty sure we didn’t write exams in Std 4?!). Trump. Brexit. ISIS. Zuma.
It’s hugely overwhelming and can make you want to curl up in the foetal position or be an ostrich and bury your head. Ignorance is after all bliss. But once you know something, you can’t un-know it.
Something that has also helped, for me, is to start small. Baby steps. Pick one thing that resonates with you, however tiny, and start doing that thing. Stop buying straws; take your own bags to the supermarket; eat less meat; join a beach clean up; stop shopping; be more patient and present with your kids; give the guy at the traffic light the courtesy of eye contact and a smile. Start small and don’t beat yourself up when you forget to do it or slip up.
For me, stuff is a big thing. I can never resist a magazine, covet just about any coffee table book ever published, and have an embarrassing amount of jeans. But I often feel crushed by the weight of the rubble in our household – the wrapping paper, party favours, broken toys and kids paraphernalia, old gadgets and shoes from yesteryear. This year, I’m going to tackle the mountain of crap that threatens to bury me. It’ll be donated, repurposed or upcyled. I have much to learn about the most responsible way to dispose of stuff (what should we be doing with foil and food packaging that isn’t recyclable – find alternatives and stop using them altogether probably!).
This is the year we lighten the load and start making some tweaks. We’ll tweak and tweak until eventually the small habits become ingrained and effortless. In the same way that I’m now unable to throw food waste into the rubbish bin without a shudder, I’m hoping, eventually, that one day, sooner rather than later, every decision around accumulating is a conscious one, ever mindful of our responsibility to tread a little lighter. Number 1 on my hit list – packaging! Watch this space.
My husband grew up on a farm and is much closer to the earth than I am. There’s stuff he just knows – basic agricultural principles about planting and sowing, the scarcity of water, eating seasonally. Being frugal and recycling is ingrained in him; it’s something I had to learn.
With all the technological knowledge we’re gaining, it seems the really basic stuff that we ought to know, like how to feed ourselves, is being lost. I only recently learnt what a pepper plant looks like. Could I tell a garlic plant from an onion? Probably not. Walnut tree from a pecan nut tree? Definitely not. Have I ever pulled a carrot out the ground? Nope.
I’ve gotten so used to plucking highly packaged and processed food off frigid supermarket shelves I can’t recognise plants in their natural habitat. But, determined to learn, we’ve been experimenting with a bit of urban farming. Our patch of garden is little, but it’s big enough to teach us the basics.
Here’s what we’re experimenting with at the moment.
Baby blueberries sharing a pot with tomatoes
Potted wild rosemary
Lemon tree – yet to bear fruit!
Pomegranate bush – first flower:-)
We discovered, fortuitously, that the area underneath our trampoline acts like a greenhouse, as tomato plants kept sprouting up. Since then we’ve had success with celery, kale and peppers (gutted that our trampoline patch was recently decimated by builders who had to dig up some pipes). We’ve got some veggie boxes (mainly spinach, but also carrots and strawberries), wonderfully large potted blueberry plants (which we planted) and wild rosemary bushes (which we inherited). We’ve got a little lemon tree and planted a pomegranate bush, none of which have yielded any fruit yet. The tomato plants continue to sprout up anywhere and everywhere, clinging to to anything it finds.
We’re not quite at the stage where we can forage for supper, but it’s a start.
A decade ago, footloose and fancy free, I followed my husband on a posting to Beijing. I figured that as a well-travelled anthropologist, adjusting would be a doddle. Turns out I was woefully underprepared and suffered a severe case of culture shock. I was a terrible China basher and couldn’t understand the love Sinophiles had for the country. To me, it was dusty, barren, ugly, unforgiving, brutal and incomprehensible.
Beijing is one of the world’s megacities and boy do you feel it — the heaving mass of people, the congested highways, the asphalt, the skyline crammed with cranes, the retail mania. And worst of all, the pollution. We arrived in this insane city in the run-up to the Olympics. Construction was in overdrive, choking the already filthy air with dust particles, making it difficult to breathe.
When we lived there I seldom bothered to check the pollution index – just by looking out the window I’d know it was through the roof. Breathing the air was so toxic, many of the international schools had sealed outdoor domes where kids could play sport. And those face masks that people wear? Apparently useless at keeping out the really nasty particles.
It all felt very post-apocalyptic. I’ve never felt the disconnect between man and nature as much as when I lived in Beijing. Everything felt artificial, even the rain – which, sometimes, it was. After particularly dry spells, the government would shoot chemicals into the sky to make it rain – it’s called cloud seeding and it’s a thing.
During international conferences (when foreigners would stream in) factories would be shut down and the change in the environment would be almost immediate – you’d see the bluest skies, and actual clouds. The international delegates would leave, the factories would power up, and you’d be enveloped in a soupy smog within a day. It was super depressing – and very disconcerting how governments play God with the weather.
Living under perpetually leaden skies was by far the toughest part of our China stint. Tougher than the culture shock and the language barrier. I was in a slightly more forgiving space by the time we left, having made many wonderful friends and learnt so much. Bereft of any natural beauty, I was forced to seek it out elsewhere – to scratch below the surface and uncover some of the idiosyncracies of life in the Middle Kingdom. And, although I didn’t need much convincing, Beijing reminded me of the rare beauty of home. In Cape Town we’re blessed with the most exquisite blue skies almost daily. You do notice a yellow band of pollution when the Cape Doctor stops blowing and air gets trapped by the mountains. But everything being relative, I still like to gulp it in.
Last year, I had a writing assignment on solid waste management in Cape Town. A very unglamorous gig on the face of it, but it turned out to be life changing. Until then, I’d never thought much about what happens to our food waste when we chuck it out. I knew it ended up in landfills, but I never bothered to complete the thought. If pressed, I would have said that it just decomposes. I learnt though, that it doesn’t.
When food waste hits landfill, it gets mushed in with the other stuff we chuck out – the plastic and the rubble and the hazardous waste and the toxic sludge – and creates leachate. This is the really putrid stuff that leaches out of our landfills and seeps into the earth, polluting our air and seas. Deprived of oxygen to help it break down, food waste also releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. It’s pretty grim stuff to contemplate.
I learnt too that our landfills are running out of airspace (at an alarming rate). If we keep going the rate we’re going, we’re going to have nowhere to dump the mindless crap we keep accumulating. How to divert your food waste and keep it out of landfill? Compost it! It’s super simple. Super nutritious for your garden. And super therapeutic for you!
Getting stuck in with all that putrefying muck soothes the soul. It’s a deeply satisfying, tactile experience crushing egg shells between your fingers or ripping apart soaked tea bags to sprinkle over rotting veggies. It’s sticky and grimy – a wonderful respite from our sanitised lives where everything is contained, ordered and scrubbed clean.
In a landfill, this would rot and release methane. In a compost heap, it decomposes into nutrient dense soil. How cool?
In a landfill, this would rot and release methane. In a compost heap, it decomposes into nutrient dense soil. How cool?
Composting has reignited my connection to the very thing that sustains us. It lets me get up close and personal with food in a way that feels fantastically primal. And in our world of excess and waste it feels so good to plough what we don’t use back into the earth — rather than let it transmute into gunk that poisons our environment.
I think there’s a perception that composting and city life don’t gel. But really, all you need is a container, a willingness to get your hands dirty and a little know-how. Read about how to get started here and here.