Not the Composting Type? Newsflash: There Isn’t One Anymore

Girlfriend@Gaiam by Girlfriend@Gaiam | June 3rd, 2009 | 6 Comments
topic: Girlfriend@Gaiam, Green Living

Composting the Kitchen WasteI 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.


  1. I loved you post! I love to compost and got my hubby on board too. We compost as much as we possibly can and do not have to put our garbage out weekly like our neighbors, our bin never gets full enough!

    While I wanted to use the compost for our garden, sometihing interesting happened with the cantelope seeds we dumped in our pile-they sprouted and we now have a full-blown cantelope growing in the pile! Can’t wait to eat this nutrient-rich fruit which was grown in our compost! :)

    For some people it seems like extra work but for me I really enjoy collecting our scraps in a yogurt container and bringing it outside every day.

    Karla | June 4th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. Good info.. I find it pretty easy to compost once you are in the mindset that a lot of the fruit and vegetables you discard could easily be added to a compost box.

    I created my compost bin from discarded 3×3 pallets. They worked out pretty well.

    If anyone is interested, I added the steps and pictures of the process.

    Happy Composting!

    Gravity Gardener | June 7th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. Love the post. Sound so easy, and if your brother can do, I should too. Do you have any ideas for a ‘homemade’ compost holder that would be easy for me to make?

    Suzanne | August 13th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  4. Nevermind. I just saw the video how-to when I looked at the spinning composter. Great video.They even had ideas how to use just two trash cans you can get from any store. My son is in Boy Scouts of America too, and I’m sure they would love to start these to help earn one of their badges as well. Thanks RJ.

    Suzanne | August 13th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  5. I have a question! I am a college student and am staying in an apartment where I would not be able to have an outdoor compost bin. My friends and I have a plot in a local community garden this summer, and I would love to start composting for it, but is it possible to do all of it inside your apartment building? Thanks!

    Charlotte | May 5th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  6. Great question, Charlotte! It IS possible to compost indoors. Gaiam has a few indoor composting options, including the Bokashi Compost Bucket and the NatureMill Indoor Composter: You can even do indoor worm composting!

    Gaiam Life | May 6th, 2011 | Comment Permalink

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