Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Budding Greenthread

Greenthread bud
Greenthread bud, Thelesperma megapotamicum
April 14, 2010
West Odessa, Texas

I like the common name of this wildflower, greenthread. Its name and this image of it budding caught me today as a lyrical title, going well with the small green steps I've been attempting lately.

Wednesdays are garbage pick up day on my street. The volume of garbage I produce is an excellent way to gauge my consumption. I set a recent goal for myself to produce only one "tall kitchen" bag of garbage per week. I've done that for a few weeks now, and today my bag is even only 3/4 full. I'm making progress.

I couldn't have done it, though, until I started taking recycling seriously, plus continuing to compost. Without doing both of those, I would produce three to four times as much landfill-destined waste.

Like everything, I tried to make my recycle system as easy as possible. I know myself well enough to know if it's complicated, I'll get lazy. Now I have a lightweight plastic bin right by the trash can. Before I throw anything away, I first see if all or any part of it is accepted by our recycle center, and a lot more of it is than you might think. I don't sort at home. Once a week when I take the plastic bin to the center, I sort the contents there.

My compost system is also simple -- an enamel mixing bowl in the kitchen for scraps and a pile outside in the back for the actual composting. Everything except meat and dairy scraps go in it. I even dump liquids in it, like my cold coffee. Recently, I began using a rubber spatula to scrape the dirty dishes, which then helps make dish washing easier, too. I dump the bowl every day or two, covering it with a plate when not in use.

I put my compost pile at the edge of my garden, closest to the back door because in the 110 degree days of summer or the few freezing days of winter, I don't want to go trekking across the country-side. A person can do all sorts of things to make better, faster compost but again, I don't make it complicated. As they say, "compost happens." I dump it, I leave it. I don't worry about it attracting wild critters because I have two outside dogs. Ansel and Dixie, on the other hand, are free to eat what they will from it. And surprisingly, they do like certain fruit and vegetable scraps. At last, when I need compost, I shovel off the chunky, least-composted top layer to reveal the black gold beneath.

Now, back to my one bag per week landfill-destined garbage: there are some problems with it. I'll cover those tomorrow with some solutions I'm considering. Maybe you'll have some even better suggestions for me. =)


nelda said...

Very interesting, Debi.

Eeyore said...

I really like the photo today. We don't hae much opportunity to recycle here, certainly not curbside. I have to load it in the truck and drive to town (only about 5 miles each way) and toss it all in one big mixed dumpster, but no glass. Paper, plastic, and cardboard. Can't do glass anywhere around here. I guess it's not as energy saving as some of the other materials, especially if I had to drive (read that as burn gasoline) 50 miles to drop it off. Read that a ton of glass recycled saves about 9 gallons of fuel. If I saved up and put 500 pounds of glass in my truck, and burned 4 or 5 gallons of gasoline to deliver it to a glass recycle center, I've just wasted more energy than the world will save. I guess we need a more efficient collection system.