All posts by tylerw

China to WTO: Scrap plastic imports banned by year-end (article)

http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20170718/NEWS/170719892/china-to-wto-scrap-plastic-imports-banned-by-year-end

How should we adapt to this?  Who’s going to take back all of our crap?

For starters, “I compost” needs to be the new “I recycle”.

I’m starting to get blue in the face, but I’m going to keep saying it anyway: Organic materials make up nearly half of our waste stream, and you don’t have to rely on anyone else to do it properly.

Right in your backyard, you can drastically reduce your impact today.  Here’s how:

 

Interesting Article: Gardening this weekend? Beware of the compost

[ original article found here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318106.php ]

Gardening this weekend? Beware of the compost

Published / by Honor Whiteman
a man handling compost
Inhaling or ingesting compost may raise the risk of Legionnaires’ disease.
If you’re planning to revel in some gardening this weekend, be sure to wash your hands after. New research finds that activities involving exposure to compost may increase a person’s risk of Legionnaires’ disease.

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia most commonly caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila, which is found in lakes, streams, and other freshwater terrains.

Legionnaires’ disease is contracted when people inhale small water droplets contaminated with L. pneumophila. This may occur through showering using a water system in which the bacterium has grown and multiplied, for example.

One lesser known cause of Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterium called Legionella longbeachae.

First isolated in 1980 from a patient in Long Beach, CA, L. longbeachae is found in compost and potting soil. Studies have suggested that inhalation and ingestion of these products may cause Legionnaires’ disease.

For this latest study, co-author Prof. Patricia Priest, of the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues set out to determine the key risk factors for infection with L. longbeachae.

The researchers recently reported their findings in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Gardeners should be cautious

The study involved 31 adults who had been hospitalized as a result of L. longbeachae-related Legionnaires’ disease, alongside 172 controls.

Over two summers, participants completed questionnaires detailing their demographics, smoking status, pre-existing health conditions, and any activities that might have exposed them to compost or potting mix, such as gardening.

The study suggests that gardening is a significant risk factor for Legionnaires’ disease; almost all patients with the condition reported gardening in the 3 weeks prior to becoming ill, which involved coming into contact with purchased compost products.

Washing hands immediately after coming into contact with compost products was associated with a lower risk of Legionnaires’ disease, though wearing masks or gloves did not appear to help.

Other risk factors for Legionnaires’ disease included smoking and a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Based on their results, the researchers say that gardeners should be cautious when handling compost products.

We recommend gardeners avoid breathing in compost or potting mix, by opening bags away from the face and keeping it close to the ground when moving it around. Also, always wash compost/potting mix off hands before putting them near the face.”

Prof. Patricia Priest

“Smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should be particularly careful to follow these safety precautions when gardening,” adds Prof. Priest.

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I was pretty skeptical of this article when I first saw it, but after doing some digging, it appears that this link has been mentioned for several years now.

The takeaway from this potential risk is to wear gloves when you’re gardening, and wash your hands when you’re done- two actions you’re probably doing already.

In this Telegraph article from 2013, Legionella Longbeachae was found in 4 out of 22 store brand composts in the UK.

One aspect I don’t see mentioned is if there’s a presence of this bacteria in homemade composts.  Time for a soil test again?

Compost Tumbler Sighting!

I was out for a walk and I saw this compost tumbler tucked away in a little park… I’ve seen plenty of dual-chamber composters before, but not this one.

I hopped the fence to take a closer look at it- it’s a pretty nice design, although I wish it were larger.

It had drain holes on the corners, which is great especially for a tumbler since they tend to get over-saturated too easily.

I’m stoked they have a composter on site… we need a lot more of that.

Is Mushroom Compost & other Recycled Materials OK for a Vegetable Garden ?

This is a great video for learning more about the different types of composts and mulches, and the factors that determine their quality.

For this year’s gardening efforts, I used a mix of mushroom compost, my own compost and vermicompost… my results so far are much better than last year, and I think adding a blend of materials helped.

Compost Bins: Drill Holes in the Lid?

Yes.

I didn’t drill holes in mine for a while because I just left the lid off, resembling my larger sized cubic yard compost bins.

However, using a lid with plenty of holes can offer the same benefits- good airflow and it allows rainwater to penetrate, too.

Now that it’s summer, compost systems need more moisture to work effectively… keep them damp, and if you want to use a lid, drill holes to contain the process without hampering it.

Vermithought for the day

One of the best things I ever did to improve my vermicomposting process was putting my weekly food scraps in the freezer for a few hours before adding them to my Worm Inn later.

It’ll keep the bugs down and it’ll help decompose the scraps a bit more through the freeze/thaw activity.

If you’re having bug issues in the summer, I recommend checking out my video How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap For Under Two Dollars .

How are your worms doing?

Maybe it’s time for a video.

Composting that includes mule feeding?

Check out the three-way split can!

I had to squint just to see what the Yes and No categories were on this thing… at first glance, it’s just three practically unmarked voids.

The compost category is interesting- only fruits and veggies… no hamburgers or ice cream.

Maybe they have a vermicomposting system on site and they’re keeping it simple for the worms?

Nope- the food scraps are fed to the mules that work in the Grand Canyon Lodges!

Known as Operation Shrivelly Apples, the program keeps food scraps out of the landfill, feeds the mules that make the daily trip down to the bottom and back, and creates manure which is processed into compost.