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..
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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid