The Uncommon Life

Compost & the City

May 13, 2010

In preparation for Compostapalooza, our partnership with Quirky to create the ultimate composting product, we’re running a series of compost education posts. Read up, then put those brainstorming caps on for kick-off on May 17!


I’ve officially caught the compost bug.

I never thought I’d get much satisfaction from dumping smelly food scraps into a bin of other smelly food scraps. But sometimes I surprise myself.

I now bring my raw food scraps (i.e. fruits, vegetables, egg shells, tea bags) to my neighborhood community garden in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The scraps are then processed into compost that is used to nourish the vegetables and other plants in the garden with essential minerals.

I love the concept of making something useful from something we have no use for. We recycle paper and plastic. Why not food? Food waste accounts for the largest component of our trash each year.  Composting also reduces our need for chemically laden fertilizers, most of which are derived from oil.  And why pay for something you can get for free?


I store my food scraps in the freezer. That way, you can enjoy the benefits of composting without the stink factor. I then make my weekly trip to the Garden of Union on Saturday morning. I simply look for the marked bin, add my scraps, and cover with sawdust. The sawdust helps keep rodents away and also ensures the proper chemical balance of carbon and nitrogen. And that’s it! I’m doing my part to reduce my footprint, and grow yummy food within my community.

You don’t need a backyard or garden to compost.  I live in a one bedroom apartment in New York City and was pleased to find there were many options available.  Check with your local sanitation department to see what options are available in your area. New Yorkers can drop off their compost at the Union Square Farmers Market every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. There are also several other community gardens and ecological centers around the city that will gladly accept your goodies. If you want to make your own compost, you might invest in an odorless indoor composter, like the Bokashi Kitchen Composter.

Next step for me: to start growing my own vegetables in my community garden. Any suggestions of what vegetables I should start with?

Oh yea, and don’t forget  about Compostapalooza, a product development contest UncommonGoods is putting on with our friends over at Quirky to create the ULTIMATE compost-related product. Click here for details.

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