Get Ready, Get Set, COMPOST!

by Betty on February 18, 2014


Part 1 of a three-part blog]

When I give talks in the community as “Better World Betty” one of the first things I want everyone to understand is that I’m not the eco-police and I’m not 100% eco-perfect!  Betty is as much about process as progress.  And although I can be disheartened at times at how hard it is to change my OWN behavior, let alone other people’s, the fact remains we all need a helping hand to hold when we go about this thing called evolving or doing better day-by-day.  There is a reason this organization is not called “Perfect World PollyAnna”!

So this year I’m taking some time to actually follow my own advice by signing up for Betty’s Home Menu!  We want to reach at least 2,000 household between now and the end of July with this campaign and prompt them to complete environmental-friendly actions starting in their own backyard.  So rather than be the Doctor who doesn’t exercise, I figure I better start this Betty workout!  So I’m all signed up for “setting the table” for a greener world with this awesome home menu that the Betty volunteer staff put together!

I’ve committed to complete three actions over the next three months (hey, it’s taken me over a year to take action, I figure I can take it slow)  1- start composting (JAN), 2- switch out my inefficient lights, (FEB) and 3- send an anti-styrofoam (MAR).

This three-part blog series is an account of how and why I took these steps in hopes of INSPIRING others to join me as we make the COMMUNITY PLATE on the menu page a darker shade of green with every eco-action completed.  And let’s face it:  it’s also a high-five to myself on taking action.  Every action big or small makes a difference!

make compost not war


Out of the 75% of household trash that COULD be recycled (according to the EPA), 38% of our trash in America is organic matter (food and yard waste) which can easily be composted.   This is reason enough to start composting,right but I also can feel good that I’m helping to support local growers and reducing greenhouse gases.

Because I live in a small townhome without any space in back for a garden, my sticking point with composting has always been the logistics of where will I put a bin and what will I do with the compost without any outdoor gardening needs to speak of?  Indoor bins are cool, but expensive at 300 bucks or more.

The solution came this fall when Black Bear Composting started his residential pick-up service!  I love Eric Walter, the owner.  He’s one of the few people who enjoys digging out recyclables from trash as much as I do and one of the few people I’ve met who is willing to even go so far as to dive into a trash bin headfirst (see photo of us at TEDx Charlottesville).  He’s just a great guy who’s doing a great service for residents and businesses.

For a reasonable monthly fee, he will collect your food scrap and deliver his awesome dirt.  He accepts food scraps of ALL TYPES.  Dairy, meat, even dog poop in biodegradable bags.  Can I really put bones in there?!  My Black Bear poster on the fridge says “YES!” along with food soiled paper , plant and yard waste and certified compostable material.

We’re about three weeks in and it’s awesome!  As a family, we’ve gone from filling the trash for the three of us every few days to once a week!  That combined with separating and recycling everything possible, we are down to ONE SMALL TRASH BAG a week for a family of three.

For those of you with the yard space, you can absolutely compost on your own and feed your garden, but this was a convenient solution for us.  We up and running and loving it!

Here’s to a great pile of dirt!


Want to know more on the business side of waste reduction?  Come to next week’s Lunch n’ Learn hosted by Better World Betty and GreenBlue


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