News / USA

A Spin a Day Keeps the Trash Away

City residents reduce garbage by doing their own composting

Once a day, Christiana Aretta spins the compost bin on her small apartment porch in Washington, D.C..
Once a day, Christiana Aretta spins the compost bin on her small apartment porch in Washington, D.C..
TEXT SIZE - +
June Soh

As enthusiasm about urban gardening and sustainability has increased, so has interest in urban composting. Composting involves  turning organic waste - such as food scraps and grass clippings - into soil. Some simplified methods and services make composting easier for city dwellers and help reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills as well.  

A spin a day

"It doesn't smell at all. If you are composting correctly, there really shouldn't be a smell," says Christiana Aretta as she spins the compost bin on her small apartment porch - something the Washington, D.C. resident does once a day. "If there is a smell, it probably means that you don't have the right balance."

Aretta dumps all of her food scraps into the bin along with some papers. Since receiving the tumbler for her birthday a few months ago, Aretta says her household trash has been significantly reduced.  

"It is probably somewhere between 80 to 90% of our trash is compostable," she says. "So we hardly ever throw anything away, what between composting and recycling."  

And there's another benefit. Aretta has a little backyard behind her first floor apartment.

"The other benefit will be in the spring when all the stuff that we've composted we can then put on top of the soil in our garden which will in turn help our vegetables be that much better."

Reusing food to create more

Ingrid Drake and her partner also started composting about three years ago.  She likes the idea of reusing food to create more food.

"We also compost because we want to reduce the amount of trash in D.C. and the amount of trash going to landfills," says Drake.

Washington, DC resident Ingrid Drake composts all year long - both in the backyard and in her basement.
Washington, DC resident Ingrid Drake composts all year long - both in the backyard and in her basement.

She employs a couple of different methods. One is a spinner bin outside used mostly during the warm season. The other is vermicomposting or warm composting in the basement all year round.

"The worms are working and they eat very fast," says Drake. "They produce very fine soil and they also produce a liquid, a worm juice, that the USDA and some of the experts in agriculture have actually said is some of the most valuable, healthy fertilizer and anti-pest control product that you can buy."

Composting on the go

She says home composting is not really as hard as it may sound. But for those who don't have a backyard, Jeremy Brosowsky thinks he has an answer. He recently launched a company called Compost Cab in the nation's capital.

"There are plenty of people who individually understand that composting in the city is an important and valuable thing to do," he says. "Our job is to make it as easy for them as possible to do that."

Jeremy Brosowsky provides clients with a specially converted bucket that has a compostable liner. He picks up food scraps weekly for an $8 fee.
Jeremy Brosowsky provides clients with a specially converted bucket that has a compostable liner. He picks up food scraps weekly for an $8 fee.

Brosowsky's service provides clients with a specially converted bucket with a compostable liner. He picks up food scraps weekly for an  $8 fee and takes them to Engaged Community Offshoot, a non-profit farm in the Washington suburbs, for composting.  If the clients wish, he returns some of the dirt to them nine months later. Otherwise, the soil is used at ECO to support sustainable urban agriculture projects.

"I believe that composting is not just about waste reduction, but also about food production," says Brosowsky. "So linking our waste stream directly to urban agriculture is a very tangible and easy to understand link for people to make."

Brosowsky believes composting is a fundamental part of the solutions that can lead to sustainable cities so he's starting to think bigger. He is now working on a plan to start picking up at a larger scale from commercial customers as well.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid