Toter Trash Can Continuous Flow Compost Bin Review

Toter Trash Can Continuous Flow Compost Bin Review

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The Loveable Loo – Like a Turd that Won’t Flush

The Loveable Loo – Like a Turd that Won't Flush

If you don’t have the time or interest to build your own, this new design is built like a tank!

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Humanure Composting: How to Create a Cover Material Cushion

Humanure Composting: How to Create a Cover Material Cushion

I love revisiting Joe’s channel to envy his Humanure Hacienda.

With this video, we can now envy his copious amounts of straw being used to insulate and cover the pile.


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2 Min. Tip: Heat up Compost without Turning It (Quick & Easy!)

2 Min. Tip: Heat up Compost without Turning It (Quick & Easy!)

This is a great video to show you how to give a compost pile a boost, which really works wonders.  He’s got plenty of volume, moisture, airflow and a good mix of material.

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Live Free or Die DIY: How to Build a Composting Toilet

Live Free or Die DIY: How to Build a Composting Toilet

Not a bad start, but some questions are definitely coming up for me.

Is this also his pile for food scraps?  Is he dampening the other materials?  How long does he add material to this hole?

I guess if you have enough space you can just keep digging holes and burying, but with one big compost heap, he can keep it simple and get better results.


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Happy Holidays. S-2494 Would Ban Commercial Food Waste From NJ Landfills (article)

Although I’m super late to this article, I had to repost it due to its importance and the fact that I haven’t seen any updates on it since this was posted.

Hopefully they can get it passed, although I think bans should be as stringent as Vermont’s, which bans all food waste residentially and commercially by 2020.

Original source found at:

Happy Holidays. S-2494 Would Ban Commercial Food Waste From NJ Landfills

Just in time for the holidays, Senator Raymond Lesniak introduced a bill on October 14th that would ban large commercial institutions from disposing their food waste in landfills and incinerators in NJ.

That would be like Thanksgiving for those who struggle with hunger, because it would make donating food to food banks a practical business decision.

It would be like Christmas for everyone, because it would:

The Bill

S-2494would require businesses and institutions in NJ generating 104 tons a year of food waste to send it to a composting or recycling facility rather than a landfill.

A food waste recycling facility uses biological processes like anaerobic digestion, or heat in an in-vessel food waste dehydrator to process food and soiled or unrecyclable paper like napkins and paper towels into fertilizer, electricity or natural gas.

The bill would regulate only the largest generators – universities, not high schools – and only businesses and institutions, not residents.

But there aren’t any large recycling facilities in NJ yet. There is one state-licensed food waste recycler in NJ, in Sussex County, that composts about 10,000 tons of food waste a year.

So during the first year, only the large commercial generators located within 25 miles of a facility authorized by the NJDEP to recycle food waste would have to comply. After a year, they all would – regardless of distance.

There are already several food waste recycling facilities in the pipeline in NJ. A Food-Waste-to-Energy facility on a brownfieldin Gloucester City, Camden County, would treat 200 to 400 tons per day in 2015. Waste Management, Inc. has an application before the NJDEPto build a facility on an existing solid waste transfer station in Elizabeth that would grind food waste for composting or further treatment in a sludge digester at a wastewater plant, according to Sondermeyer. Trenton Biogas is proposing to convert an unused sludge plant on Duck Island in the Delaware River to turn up to 100,000 tons a year of food waste into fuel and fertilizer.

S-2494 is very close to what the Association of New Jersey Recyclers had proposed this spring that was modeled on the Food Residuals Recycling law in Rhode Island.

The White Paper

As reported October 10th on the EnviroPoliticsblog, Gary Sondermeyer of ANJRthinks that even a moderate approach to regulating food waste would help NJ reach its goal of recycling 50% of its solid waste. That’s because food waste is as much as 25% of what gets thrown away as garbage in NJ, according to Sondermeyer.

In March, ANJR proposedthat only institutions that produce 104 tons or more a year of food waste (an average of 2 or more tons a week) be required to recycle, repurpose, or donate, rather than dispose. But only when a large generator is within 35 miles of a recycling facility, and only when the cost of recycling is less than disposal. Other states that have been recycling food waste report savings of 20-25% over disposal costs, according to Sondermeyer.

Four States With Bans

In 2011, Connecticutbecame the first state to ban commercial food waste from landfills. Generators of 2 tons or more food waste per week were required to recycle if located within 20 miles of a recycling facility. In 2013 they expanded the ban to facilities generating a ton a week, beginning in 2020.

In 2012, Vermontbanned food waste from commercial generators within 20 miles of a recycling facility that produced 2 tons or more food waste per week. Allfood waste, residential as well as commercial, will be banned by 2020.

The Massachusettsban on commercial food waste took effect October 1, 2014. Facilities producing 1 ton or more a week are required to donate, repurpose, compost, or convert their food waste to animal feed. There are no distance restrictions because they already have s o many recycling facilities.

The Rhode Island ban – the one NJ’s is modeled after – takes effect Jan. 1, 2016 for facilities generating 104 tons or more food waste a year within 15 miles of a recycling facility. However, these institutions can send their food waste to the landfill if it’s cheaper than recycling, and K-12 public schools are exempt.

What About Eating Out-of-Date Food?

The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties trains their staff in food safety. Their warehouse is certified in the federally-standardized process widely used for the prevention of food hazards ( Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).

But what about expiration dates on food? Whether it is shelf-stablefood that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, or Potentially Hazardous Food that has been kept at the appropriate temperature, most dates are about peak quality, not food safety. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “U.S. consumers and businesses needlessly trash billions of pounds of food every year as a result of America’s dizzying array of food expiration date labeling practices, which need to be standardized and clarified.”

The NJ Department of Health only requires expiration dates for bottled water and fluid milk products, including creams and yogurts ( #5), for controlling the growth of bacteria that cause disease. According to the USDA, infant formula under FDA inspection must have a “use-by” date on the label so that formula doesn’t clog a nipple. The other dates are about spoilage, not disease – even the sell-by dates on meat are for rotating stock, not for safety.

Meanwhile, Here’s Who Won’t Be Getting Fossil Fuel in Their Stockings

Kean University has been composting its on-campus food waste since January of 2010, the same year the NJDEP set aside $200,000 in grants for colleges and universities to start pilot programs for recycling food waste. Their rotary drum composter in the Food Scraps Composting Laboratory – their Green Machine – can process 250,000 pounds of food scraps in less than a year.

The municipality of Princeton has been picking up organic waste at the curb once a week since 2011 for residents who want it, for $65 a year. This includes food, soiled paper products, and most yard waste. Here’s what they will collect: If it grows, IT GOES.

The Hackensack University Medical Center has been sending its food waste, including biodegradable cups and plates, to a digester in a corner of its kitchen since 2013. It turns 400 pounds of food waste into about 100 pounds of water in four hours, diverting 250,000 pounds food waste from the landfill in its first year.

An Environmental Regulation that Fights Hunger

Emergency food. Food-insecure.

There was a story Friday in the Patch about a family in Middletown that is filling backpacks with weekend-food for families in their school system that are still affected by Superstorm Sandy. In their recent press release for Hunger Action Month, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders reported: “The sad fact is more than 80,000 people in Monmouth County face hunger every day, many of whom are formerly working, middle class families who lost their jobs or are underemployed.”

Poverty and pollution. S-2494 could make donating food to food banks cost-effective. It’s one way environmental goals can cross over to directly fight hunger. The Senate Environment and Energy Committee meets Monday, October 27 to discuss it.

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A Quick Statement to the City of Philadelphia on the Importance of Composting (article repost)

(reposted from my other website,

Recently I was asked to provide a statement to the City of Philadelphia on why composting needs to be made more widely available for its residents.

While there will be some difficult logistical challenges to evaluate, there is absolutely no reason why this can’t make positive progress.

I was in quite a rush, but at the last minute I was able to type something out.  Luckily, I think about this very issue quite often so I was able to write a cranky blurb just in time.  Here it is:

I’ve lived in Philadelphia for nine years, and while the city has plenty of green initiatives going on for it, there’s also plenty of room for improvement.

The most obvious is the lack of curbside compost collection.

Composting is my hobby- it’s what I do. On a weekly basis, my curbside blue bin is overflowing, while my trash can rarely makes the trip to the curb at all. Everyone’s blue bin is overflowing, so why do we still have the waste issues we have?

There’s two important things to consider here- first of all, is that “recycling” is not enough. Most plastics that are put to the curb never see another life. They don’t have the value to be resold unless they are in pristine condition and someone actually wants to buy the material.  Some plastics are cheaper to extract and produce again than they are to recycle.

The recycling rates for plastic are abysmal. #1 and #2 plastics are 25% or less, with #3 through #7 at 6% or less (I found this statistic in the Bag It! documentary.  Watch it, it’s awesome). Even glass is running out of options these days, which is criminal because it doesn’t leach undisclosed toxins into your food and water like plastic does.

It’s unfortunate because people think they’re actually recycling everything from their house when in reality they’re being deceived of their efforts. Just because something is recycle–able, doesn’t mean it’s actually recycled.

Worst of all, this material is often burned to create a trivial amount of energy that would never cover the energy wasted on even starting up an incinerator.  Waste-to (of)-Energy is a massive lie and needs to be uncovered more thoroughly for what it is.

Anyway…organic material is organic material. There’s no room for failure here. I compost all my food scraps at home, my soiled paper products, and essentially any item that is organic. I also have a compost toilet to avoid fouling up our water supply.

The point is that this massive amount of organic material that we all generate, which comprises over 50% of landfills (food, paper products and yard waste combined, according to EPA in 2012) is now creating methane. Think of it this way- Our landfills could be 50% smaller than they are currently!

Landfills are devoid of oxygen. Worse yet, landfills often flare off these gases which are mixed with other toxic, cancerous compounds. Methane is 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. There’s nothing good about a landfill, especially when most materials we dispose can be handled in another manner.

If all this organic material hits the compost pile instead, it utilizes oxygen to break down naturally, with carbon dioxide as the natural byproduct. After a few months, you’re also rewarded with fertile soil to be used again. It’s the world’s oldest process.

Mayor Nutter stated that he aspired to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the country. This will absolutely never happen without composting being provided. This can be done by not only teaching people how to do it at home, but also creating smaller centralized sites throughout the city plus curbside pickup. While this will be a tricky process, it’s one we need to evaluate in order to get the City to where it needs to be.

We’re long overdue with making composting a common activity, both at home and the workplace. If more people composted at home, it would reduce the burden on our landfills.

If more people composted at home, they’d start asking why they can’t do it where they work.

They might realize that if they skipped one TV show to build their compost pile, they could cut their landfill burden in half. Upkeep is one commercial per week. Seriously!

If you haven’t started composting yet, give it a shot. Significantly less trash to the landfill, reduced greenhouse emissions, and fertile soil. Although most people aren’t losing sleep about becoming attentive to one of humanity’s biggest problems, it must become standard behavior in order to sustain our future.

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How to Deposit Materials in your Compost Bin

Recently I put together a second compost pile in my backyard, and I took a few quick photos as I started adding material.

I want your pile to work the best it can while not giving off any odors or attracting local pests.  These two concerns are super easy to prevent- all you need to do is add a layer of browns over each and every food scrap deposit, and make sure you have two to three times as much brown material as food scraps.


3-layer of final browns1.) Start your new pile with browns first.  I added straw first to act as a sponge for any excess moisture, then my first deposit of shredded leaves.  This totals a little over 6″, but I would have added more material if I had it.

To be sure, your compost pile will barely leach any liquid if at all.  Compost piles crave moisture as they need it to work…it’s really hard to over-saturate.  Use a watering can to dampen the pile.

2-layer of food2.) Add your food scraps.  For a large compost bin with at least 3′x3′x3′ in capacity, be sure to add ALL food.  All food composts just fine…the reason you will often hear that certain items “don’t” compost is that the composting system being used does not achieve hot composting temperatures so the material sits there.  This is mostly due to lack of capacity which is a key factor to spark a thermophilic reaction.

For fun, I threw in some chinese take-out containers.  It’s quite possible that they have a thin plastic lining, although I’m not totally sure.  I personally don’t care about having to pick out some remnants of plastic at the end of the composting process.  Maybe if I was growing veggies I would; but since I’m not, I’m happy to experiment and screen the finished product…I do it anyway.


1-layer of browns3.) Lastly, add another layer of shredded brown materials and dampen it with water.  That’s it.  Go back and forth.  Always cap off your pile with a layer of browns, NOT food scraps.  Leaving food scraps sitting on the top uncovered will result in odor and/or pests.

At the end of each week, I empty my kitchen food scrap collector into my compost pile and then cover the deposit with a quick layer of shredded leaves.  That’s all there is to it.

Any questions?

finished pile contents

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Hot Compost Method for Beginners

Hot Compost Method for Beginners

Just like his other video, I’m finding he’s doing too much work!

-No need to turn the pile
-No need for an activator (just add dirt instead)
-More leaf litter

I envy his materials, and he’s the perfect candidate for a compost toilet.

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Not So Hot Compost

Not So Hot Compost

The reasons for the pile not working are easily solvable.

First: the pile is predominantly manure.  A working pile needs to have three times as much carbon as nitrogen.  He mentions activators, but in this situation they won’t help at all.

He needs shredded leaves as his browns.  I can’t tell if there’s any food scraps in there, added to the center and covered with a fresh layer of browns (shredded leaves).

Second, the pile is super dense and airflow is limited.  He needs browns.

Third, there is no reason at all to turn the pile, ever.  By doing so, the heat from the center is randomly redistributed, making the pile (the thermophilic critters) lose momentum.  Do less, reap the results.

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