I could barely contain my surprise when my brother asked me a few months ago which compost bin he should buy from Gaiam. We’re talking about a guy who arguably has the cleanest fingernails on the planet (he’s a heart surgeon) and who has absolutely no tree-hugging tendencies. His SUV gets 13 miles to the gallon. He doesn’t have a single compact fluorescent light bulb in his entire house. He occasionally bikes to work, but mostly to avoid becoming like one of his patients. But his 13-year-old son came home from Boy Scouts one day and said, “Dad, we have to start composting.”
My very earnest nephew was standing there with us that day, looking down(!) at me and brimming with newly absorbed knowledge about how to transform veggie scraps and yard trimmings into fertilizer, and how it would shrink the carbon footprint of my brother’s household in the process. “Sixty percent of our garbage is compostable organic matter,” he informed us. Who can say no when their kid is asking them to be more environmentally responsible?
Composting, some experts say, should be right up there with buying CFLs and using a programmable thermostat on the top-ways-to-save-the-planet list. Yet, despite the knowledge I’ve gained from working here at Gaiam, I had to admit to my bro that I needed to get with the program myself.
But I’ve never thought of myself as the composting type
Honestly, composting has always seemed a little too hippie-chick for me. I work in an office! I wear peep-toes! My nails look even better than my brother’s!
But I knew I had to get over myself. Not just to walk the Gaiam talk so I can maintain eye contact with coworkers who compare their composting conquests while munching veggie burgers at the zero-waste Gaiam cafe beneath 100kW worth of solar panels. And not just because it did sound smarter than stuffing potato peels down my disposal even though they invariably give the motor a seizure. But because I couldn’t let my brother, poster child of the eco-unconscious, beat me to the punch.
And what do you know? It’s really quite a thrill to present the composting gods with your humble offerings of peels, cores, leftovers and leavings, and watch them be transformed by said gods (okay, microbes) into rich, black, fertile, beautiful soil-like stuff. “Oh-woa-woa, it’s magic!” And my Spinning Composter looks so sleek out there in the backyard that our next-door neighbor asked me where I got that cool enclosed hose reel.
So guess what, girlfriend?
This is your composting wake-up call!
All the kids are doing it, and so are a lot of white-collar types, work-at-home moms and all manner of folks in between. Give it a spin, even if you’re a diva who only comes here for the yoga mats.
Start after dinner tonight; just save those scraps from being scrapped. Use a compost crock or an indoor composter so you won’t have to trek out to the outdoor compost bin after every meal. Get answers to your burning questions about composting in Gaiam’s A to Z Compost Guide and try these 5 Tricks that Make Composting Easy as Pie, including my favorite discovery about composting, which is this:
Don’t stress! You really can’t do it wrong. Mother Nature will help you out on this one sooner or later, even if you lift a finger only occasionally.
After all, it’s not heart surgery.