I stopped adding to my “cured” compost bin just over a year ago- it’s had plenty of time to cure, cool down and break down.
It’s strange how compost piles age- all the non-compost stuff seems to bubble up to the surface, like tires rise to the surface in a landfill.
Can you guess what this glob of green stuff is in my hand?
It’s the remains of a compostable garbage bag.
Where’s the rest of it? Has it degraded safely and completely? What’s up with the stuff in my hand? What other stuff is in here?
I really don’t remember what I put in my compost pile… I’m making that pledge right now that when I empty this one and start it all over soon, I’m keeping a clipboard with any oddball entries logged!
I added so many paper products with plastic liners, various samples of supposedly compostable bags, plus leaves I swept off the street which inevitably contain bits and pieces of trash.
I knew this going into it- I could take the extra steps to make my pile as clean as possible, but I’d rather it be a process out of practicality.
I’ve had a few people email me saying I’m crazy adding leaves off the street to my compost pile because they’re “hazardous”. If that’s the case, we’d better just stop composting all together!
The way things are now with plastic contamination and just the overall spread of various debris in all sizes, I prefer the perspective of acknowledging it’s there and simply minimizing it to the best of my ability. That’s my goal for this next pile.
Over the last two years, I’ve learned that while bioplastic products may have decent intentions, they should also ultimately be avoided.
While it’s not easy to just write off plastic altogether and live a plastic free life (go Beth!), it’s easy to make solid decisions and directly control your compost pile environment.
This next pile I build is going to be so much better than this one.