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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid