As it turns out, nothing moves me to jump-start a blog like trash talk. For serious I'm so jazzed out about our compost pick-up service I gotta share. Garbage sucks. It's a pain in the butt and we feel guilty about our ever-expanding landfill footprint. But behold! Urban compost services can revolutionize your momlife.
Listen guys, in my wildest dreams I'd never imagined myself composting (let alone blogging about it) til I discovered how easy and awesome it is with these pick-up services. Let's be realistic, I live in the city! I thought it would be a hassle, and might attract fruit flies or even <gasp> rats. Images of moldy lettuce leaves and potato peels littering my childhood backyard would spring to mind-- from when a raccoon discovered my mom's short-lived attempt at composting kitchen scraps under the lid of a Weber grill.
The beauty of the compost pick-up services is that they do the dirty work. It begins when they drop off at your door a five-gallon bucket with an air-tight lid. You collect your kitchen scraps all week, using a super-handy countertop canister with a charcoal filter, emptying it into the five-gallon bucket as needed. Seriously, zero issues with smell or fruit flies, as the containers are airtight. On your designated pick-up day, you leave the bucket on your doorstep, the service comes, takes it away and leaves you another clean bucket! Easy peasy. Our service even gives us packages of the "black gold" post-compost soil, which work wonders in my planters! Ok, that's nice but why bother you ask?
First, the countertop compost canister is one of the best kitchen hacks I've yet discovered. Remember Rachel Ray's "garbage bowl"? Where she tossed everything as she chopped off carrot tops and peeled veggies, way back on Thirty Minute Meals? It works like that thing. Think about allll those banana peels, strawberry tops, apple cores, potato skins, avocado pits, shells, bones, stems and seeds that traverse your counter in a given day. No more back and forth to the trash can, or concern about jamming the garbage disposal. Everything just pops into the canister, which is super cute I might add. Ours perfectly compliments our red Le Creusets (link).
Next up, the kids love it! They love reminding me which items belong in the compost vs. the recycling and garbage bins. Makes for easy lessons and mealtime conversation about the importance of natural life cycles, consumption, giving back to the planet and how the choices we make today can impact tomorrow.
But truly, for me the BIG ahh-ha was the stress-relief and satisfaction of composting rather than land-filling the copious amounts of plated food my kids refuse on a daily basis-- and yes, the carrots I forgot about that went moldy in back of my fridge. And the truth is that food waste is a serious environmental issue. It's the largest single source of waste in the US, with more food ending up in landfills than plastic or paper. Composting has the potential to reduce landfill waste in a very significant way. It also plays a crucial function in supporting sustainable farming practices by increasing the availability of nutrient-rich soil for planting.
Bonus. Compost all your pizza boxes and soiled paper towels and napkins! Convenience loving mamas, feel no guilt over your paper plates, napkins and take out boxes. These items cannot be recycled, but cardboard, paper napkins, paper towels, and many paper plates are 100% compostable. Boom.
Get yours. There are several compost-collection services throughout Chicago and the burbs (who knew?!). We researched and picked Healthy Soil as they were running a nice promo ($35/month for weekly pick-ups), and I dig that they take the added step of reducing their carbon footprint by doing many collection runs by bike and wagon. As a family of four I do think we could get away with a bi-weekly pick-up which is just $20/month. Until our city gets its act together with a municipal compost program (see Seattle, San Francisco, et al), it feels like a small price to pay for the value we receive: getting our family consciously connecting to our planet, and feeling less stressed about tossing my kids' uneaten meals, to boot!
More info on Healthy Soil's services, fees and what you can compost here.