Tag Archives: sustainability

When is Your Compost Ready to Use? (video)

When is Your Compost Ready to Use?

When is your compost ready to use? Some questions to ask yourself include:

How does it look?
Can you recognize any of the material?
How does it smell?
Is the material warm?

Here I have a few different samples of compost…vermicompost, tumbler compost, commercial compost, and trench compost.

What do you think of these samples?  I feel like my tumbler compost and vermicastings could both go even longer before using them, but that they’re still OK if I were to use them now.  In fact, I’m going to use these samples for my next “Clash of The Composts!” experiment coming soon… stay tuned!

Compost Window at Tyler School of Art

I was sifting through a few months’ worth of pictures on the camera, and I found this gem:

Can you tell what it is? It’s a sideview of an indoor compost pile in action. Pretty cool!

I spent some time at Tyler School of Art’s “Coffree Mondays” hosted by Robert Blackson a few months ago, and it was a great vibe. I was asked to hang out and talk about waste and environmental issues. I thought there would be people to speak to, but the majority just wanted to get their free coffee and get the heck out of there. I couldn’t blame them, I’m not an early riser and I definitely wasn’t during my hellish time in school.

The coolest thing they had besides encouraging the reusable lifestyle with coffee mugs and having a really cool sound installation, was the huge compost window. Can you recognize what each of the layers are? The main question I had about it was why it was so air tight. Impedance of airflow is one of the reasons composting processes don’t get off the ground…it’s an aerobic process that needs air to get busy.

Meat, on the other hand, degrades via anaerobic processes (hence why it smells and needs to be kept separate from your normal composting efforts), but that wasn’t the scope of this as far as I could tell.

I wonder how many people that looked at this knew it was a composting project. This thing rules. It might do better if the contents were all mixed up too, but then that would take away from the cool factor of having the layers visible.

Robert was also nice enough to let me check out the building’s loading dock to take a look at their waste operations…always a treat. What do you think of these cans? Nice, colorful and very clear:

Good stuff, Tyler School of Art!

Begich Middle School Composting (video)

Begich Middle School composting

I love seeing the kid in this video explaining the process, and he definitely gets it. We need more of this!

Know of any schools that are composting near you? This is one of those things that I foresee really taking off in the coming years.

Why? It’s simple ownership of the students’ (and staff’s) waste that can merge nicely with an Environmental Science or Home Economics class that most if not all kids have to take at some point. Plus, these behaviors can make their way home and just like that our landfill impact drops.

While Newt Gingrich made those extra-strength ignorant comments about replacing a custodian’s job with students as young as 9 years old, maybe this is a little more realistic. Kids can take turns collecting and carting out the daily scraps to a compost pile/bin and learn why they need to mix their browns with their greens. Simple and awesome, don’t you agree?

Composting Opportunities at School (video)

Scavenging at School

I posted this video recently on my other website, tylertalkstrash.com, and then I realized it had some crossover here. Schools are a blaring example of composting potential, and you teach the kids about it and hold them responsible for its success.

This came to mind as I was taking a stroll downtown earlier and walked in front of a shoe store that had its trash on the street. It didn’t take long to realize that they are yet another industry that could easily compost their waste with little to no contamination. All they have is cardboard boxes neatly flattened, shoe boxes smooshed into garbage bags along with the tissue paper you put inside and around the shoe. Check it out:

So much composting potential.

It’s hard to think of an industry that couldn’t benefit from composting in one way or another…in the shoe store’s case, their cardboard recycler doesn’t want the tissue paper anyway as it’s considered a contaminant (super low grade paper).

What’s left? Their employees appeared to be hardcore coffee drinkers, and we know that’s all compost. Remaining was plastic wrap, which can easily be separated and might even fetch you a few bucks when you have enough.