Freeze Your Food Scraps to Prevent Fruit Flies

Fruit flies compost

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Worx Leaf Shredder Review

Worx Leaf Shredder Review

The Worx WG430 Leaf Shredder has quickly become my favorite composting tool for its speed, ease of use and quality of the finished leaves.

I used a Black & Decker Leaf Hog until I realized I could do more with less energy using a standing shredder instead of a shoulder-mounted one.

The Worx shredder is essentially a weed whacker on a frame, and it sets up in seconds: Put the legs in the stand, put the shredder unit on top of the stand and plug it in.

It’s loud, and it’s kind of a mess.  It ejects leaves up into the air quite a bit, and you MUST wear glasses and a dust mask if you want to have fun using it.

For my routine, I sweep up a trash can’s worth of leaves and dump them in the chamber, using the can to minimize how much stuff kicks back in my face.

If the leaves are wet, this definitely slows down the process and wears down the trimmer line much quicker.

It comes with a lot of replacement trimmer line, and you will need it.  I’m currently looking for replacement line that isn’t plastic so I can cut down my waste as a result of using it.  That being said, replacement of the trimmer line can be done in the seconds without using any tools.

Otherwise, this thing hasn’t let me down yet.  It can jam sometimes if you really dump a lot in at once… you’ll notice in my video that I did that, and it can be remedied by just shaking the frame a little bit.

This tool really comes in handy for condensing my leaves for the Fall/Winter composting season.

If you’re looking for an affordable tool to save storage space through the winter and keep your compost pile cooking, I’d recommend checking this out.

For more information on Amazon, click here: http://amzn.to/1rSrzfv

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Preliminary Review of the WORX WG430 Electric Leaf Mulcher/Shredder

worx leaf shredderI’ve been using the Worx WG430 Leaf Shredder roughly once a month since I got it back in March, and I wanted to be patient before writing a review on its performance.  I’m going to make a video later this week, but for now I wanted to write down my thoughts about it as I just got done using it for the evening.

I have always used a shoulder strapped leaf vacuum such as the Black & Decker Leaf Hog, but those days are definitely done now that I have this.

The Leaf Hog wasn’t bad, but it clogged a bit easy and I blew up the motor on it twice!  They replaced it both times, but that shouldn’t have to happen to begin with.

The Worx shredder is essentially a weed whacker on a frame.  Let’s get right to the main points about it:

-The trimmer blades aren’t the strongest.  I’ve replaced my blades once.  I’ve used it for about an hour and a half so far (which is a lot), and each time a stick got in there it probably broke the blades a little more.  If you know of anywhere to get metal replacement blades for this, let me know… I’m definitely searching.

-It ejects leaves into the air like nobody’s business.  Wear a mask!  I have a trick to minimize how much gets in your face, which I will show you in the video.

Those are my two gripes.  What’s good is that it breaks down in to smaller pieces for easy storage, decimates leaves quite well.  It’s hit or miss with material that’s damp or wet.  I’d advise to avoid running damp material through it, unfortunately.

More to come in the upcoming review video.  I hope to knock it out this weekend as I begin storing leaves for wintertime composting…

 

 

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Composting with Grass Clippings – Day 3 – Turning the Pile

Composting with Grass Clippings – Day 3 – Turning the Pile

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Composting with Grass Clippings

Composting with Grass Clippings

This video is great for its simplicity and the fact that it really works like this.

Pile stuff up, get it wet and that’s it.

I like that there’s no bin or tumbler being used- just a heap in the yard will do it.

I don’t have any grass, but this makes me want to go get some nearby just to add some more diversity to my piles.

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Tulsa, OK Chooses Incineration Over Composting (article)

Article reposted from: http://www.energyjustice.net/content/tulsa-ok-chooses-incineration-over-composting

Tulsa, OK Chooses Incineration Over Composting

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- by Jarrel Wade, August 6, 2014, Tulsa World

Trash board members voted Tuesday to begin the process of seeking bids for contractors to pick up curbside green waste and take it to the city’s burn plant.

The recently introduced plan from the Tulsa Authority for Recovery of Energy is to send green waste to the city’s burn plant permanently, essentially ending Tulsa’s curbside green-waste program as it was originally promised.

The TARE board vote authorizes staff to invite bids from contractors for board evaluation and possible acceptance at future meetings.

The vote followed discussion about several contractual obligations that hindered implementation of the new plan.

TARE officials have said their goals are to keep costs low, keep the system environmentally responsible and make the trash system simple for customers.

One problem is that the city would be forced to continue requiring that green waste be put in clear plastic bags even though it likely would go in the same trucks to the same location as trash.

The contract with the city’s haulers, NeWSolutions, requires that green waste be in a separate waste stream, TARE attorney Stephen Schuller said.

“Competitive bidders could bring a lawsuit on such a fundamental change,” he said.

Another problem discussed was TARE’s inability to seek bids for contractors to take the green waste to the city’s green-waste facility, which some board members had requested for price comparison.

Schuller said a contract between the board and the burn plant mandates that all green waste — if taken by a TARE contractor — go to the burn plant, owned by Covanta Energy.

Because the city, not a TARE contractor, has picked up green waste since the program began, it could take the yard trimmings elsewhere.

However, since the program began in October 2012, it hasn’t.

Green waste has gone to the city’s burn plant instead of to the green-waste site because of problems processing the plastic bags.

Tuesday’s meeting also focused on a presentation from Covanta Energy spokesman Matt Newman about the burn plants’ emissions being well under Environmental Protection Agency limits.

Newman said the burn plant is a net reducer of greenhouse gases, while separate gases that lead to hazardous ozone are kept to a minimum.

The burn plant accounts for 0.2 percent of Tulsa’s nitrogen oxide emissions — a precursor to ozone, he said.

In terms of emissions, Newman said, the burn plant is much better than a landfill and is competitive with a green-waste site.

“If you go to a mulch or a composting site, it depends on the technology that you employ,” Newman said regarding which option is better for the environment.

Michael Patton, executive director of Tulsa’s Metropolitan Environmental Trust, said meeting EPA regulations on emissions is not the same as recycling green waste when it comes to being green.

“Greenhouse gases are not an issue for Tulsa. Ozone is,” he said.

Tulsa has had excessive ozone pollution since at least 1990, when alerts began for the city.

July 23 was Tulsa’s first Ozone Alert day of 2014.

Officials declared four alert days in 2013; 21 in 2012; and 25 in 2011.

Patton told TARE board members they should reconsider plans to send green waste to the burn plant rather than pursue compost ideas.

“If we can reduce NOx (Nitrogen Oxide) in any way possible, including by avoiding burning green waste, I think Tulsa wins,” he said.

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Tulsa wins when they decide to kick Covanta out.

There’s no reason whatsoever to burn organic materials.  Focusing on ozone or nitrogen oxide is not the issue; the issue is destroying perfectly good materials instead of putting them back into the earth as nature intended.

What kills me is that all the pro-burn idiots are constantly saying “waste to energy”, yet there’s no metrics on how much energy.  That’s because it’s a loss, plain and simple.  Burning organic material means it’s gone.  We need organic material to continue the earth’s nutrient cycles as intended.

Landfill the air, and lie about the pollution, or return the material back to its original state with nothing to hide… it’s time to reconsider, Tulsa.

TARE is not helping you, they’re screwing you.

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Thermal kill temperatures obtained!

compost temp 131After a huge storm last weekend, tons of leaves came down on the block.  By Monday they had dried out and I was there for the sweeping.

I put my shredder to use and converted 3 bags of leaves into one full, dense bag of shredded brown fuel.

I added a bunch of leftovers, the compost toilet bucket, weeds I picked from the side yard, and cat food that the picky guy doesn’t want to eat anymore.

On a side note, my cat seems to only want the cheap processed crap.  I tried feeding him some super good stuff with real meat in it, and he doesn’t want it!

Anyway, it makes great fuel.  My pile has been at or above 131 F for a few days now.  Yay!

According to Jenkins, Gotaas, and numerous others, complete pathogen destruction takes place in a well-managed compost pile arriving at the temperature of 62 C (144 F) for one hour, 50 C (122 F) for one day, 46 C (115 F) for one week or 43 C (109.4 F) for one month.

To achieve these temperatures, all you need is at least a 3′ x 3′ x 3′ compost bin with well-shredded leaves and food scraps.  Emptying your compost toilet in there will guarantee these temperatures.

As with anything it takes practice, but once you do it once, you’ll keep nailing it.  And it feels pretty good. :)

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Adding Weeds to the Compost – Do’s and Don’ts (video)

Adding Weeds to the Compost – Do's and Don'ts

Great video with some examples of weeds that have gone to seed.

With a large enough compost pile, you can cook all your weed seeds anyway, but it definitely takes practice.

 

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Top 5 Tips for Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

Let’s face it- fruit flies happen, especially in the summer.  They can make composting seem like more of a drag, but either way they show up and they can be cleared out pretty easily.

What’s the best way to get rid of them?  Here’s my top tips:

1) Empty your kitchen food scrap collector more frequently.  Instead of once a week, try twice.  Check the fridge for stuff you forgot about.  I have room for improvement on that one.

2) Clean out your trash and recycling cans.  Scan the insides for little eggs.  I found some under the lid once.

3) If you’re a vermicomposter, make sure every addition of food scraps to your worm system is accompanied by a hefty layer of shredded brown materials like cardboard or leaves.  Place a fruit fly trap next to the system as well.

4) Keep your kitchen sink clean.  Empty the contents of the sink stopper into your food scrap collector.  Every morning when I make coffee, I like to take the excess boiling water and dump it down the drain…this takes care of anything hanging out down in there.

5) Make a fruit fly trap for the kitchen.  Here’s how to do it for less than two dollars:

How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap For Under Two Dollars

Good luck!

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Fat Kitty in the Compost Pile

Composting KittyFat kitty helping out with the compost pile, keeping the tarp in place while the refuse below cooks away.  Thanks Noble!

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