Composting in the City

by | Dec 23, 2013 | Sustainable Living | 0 comments

Composting in the CityIt occurs to me that my claim of not being a hardcore greenie isn’t entirely accurate.

Here’s the thing, I might not consider myself one (after all, I live inside a shopping centre), but you, upon clapping your eyes on our composting bin and recycle bag sitting alongside the trash can, most probably would.

Coming at it from the other end of the spectrum, our pukka hippie friends would shudder to discover that the majority of our produce waste is non-organic. They may even go so far as to say it’s not worthy of composting at all.

Anyway, point being it’s all relative, so I guess I should go back and add an addendum or asterisk or something to my about page.

Back in the day Sporty and I threw all our rubbish in the bin, but then we discovered recycling and began separating our waste accordingly.

We quickly realised however that not all apartment blocks have a recycling initiative, which proved a minor challenge whenever we got it into our heads to move. But rather than give up, we trawled the neighbourhood (like only a pair of shifty looking urban hippie lesbians on a mission can) until we found a building that did.

We’d then load up our bag and drop it off outside the apartment block in question on their recycling day. Later, after we sold our car this method required slinging the bag over our shoulder and walking it over.

You try looking nonchalant while strolling down the road lugging a see-through plastic bag full of trash; it’s not as easy as it sounds.

When Sporty and I converted to a plant-based diet we were mortified to note the amount of produce waste we were throwing away. We bemoaned the fact that we couldn’t compost and dreamt of the day that we’d own a little cottage in the country and grow our own vegetables.

Okay that’s a blatant lie, Sporty and I would never live anywhere that’s further than a 10-minute walk from the nearest Vida e Caffé.

Still, we wanted to have our cake and eat it too. Or perhaps I should say, we wanted to be able to eat our greens and not throw away the pulp.

Well the composting gods clearly took heed of our ‘if onlys’ and presented us with a solution in the form of Sporty’s Colleague, Linda, who, as it happens, lives in the ‘burbs, is a keen gardener and…tah da tah daaah…composts.

She brought us a bucket, which we now fill with everything from our unbleached tea bags and juicing pulp to our organic coffee grinds and waxed citrus peels.

Best of all she stops by our apartment to pick it up on her way home, so we don’t have to be those lesbians. You know, the ones who wear crocs, don’t shave and take their composting bucket on the bus with them.

The plan was going along swimmingly until last week when Linda decided it was time for her annual vacation. Fortunately we do have a Plan B, it’s just not as convenient.

The Oranjezicht City Farm is a short 15-minute walk from our place and they’re happy to take our kitchen waste. The only caveat is the steep uphill slog that lies between them and us.

The bus goes right past, but the question remains, do we want to be those urban hippie lesbians?

There’s something else I need to admit to before wrapping up what has to be my most hippie-eque post to date. Not even my friendly cockroach eliminator can top this one.

We recently bought a bag of Bokashi (Japanese for ‘organic fermented matter’) to add to our bucket to help it decompose quicker.

So now our tiny little postage stamp kitchen has a recycle bag, bag of Bokashi, compost bucket and rubbish bin all sitting in a neat row under the counter. Me, who absolutely abhors having things out (I’d stuff the bed in the closet if I could), has to deal with having all of this out in full view.

Suffice it to say, if you think composting isn’t an option if you live in a studio apartment in the middle of city, think again.

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