If you’re like me, a 20-something-year-old in school and living in a small apartment with no backyard, but looking for ways to live more sustainably, then take a look at this.
I’ve always been intimidated by composting in my apartment. It might smell, my dogs might get into it, and worms? yuck!
But I’m slowly getting over these small fears. According to the EPA, we throw away approximately 250 million tons of municipal solid waste a year. Some percent of that is diverted from landfills due to recycling and re-use efforts, but only 8% is composted. That still leaves a hefty 136 million pounds of trash being sent to landfills.
Our best solution to America’s trash problem can come from individual consciousness and initiatives.If you have a cabinet, a windowsill or a porch/balcony, you can compost. If I can live in a 500-square-foot apartment and find room for a compost bin under my sink, so can you.
But if you need more convincing, here’s three reasons to compost.
1. You get free, rich soil. Let me say it again: free. How more American can that get? We love free stuff. You already used your hard-earned money on that apple or newspaper. Why not stretch your dollar and give it a second life?
2. You help divert trash from a landfill. If you’re a skeptic, you’re probably thinking why this applies to you. Well, I’ll tell you why! Nobody likes having landfills. Nobody likes living near one. Have you ever heard someone say, “Wow, I really love living near a landfill.”, or “Gee, look at that beautiful landfill!”, or “I love driving by the freeway with the windows down when the landfill’s being piled up. Smells divine.” No! Nobody’s ever said that. And if anybody ever did, then they probably need a bath. Compost, and you prolong the life of a landfill and lower the chance that a new, stinky landfill will have to be built near you.
3. More composting means less waste of taxpayer dollars going towards landfilling. In my native homecity of New York, 1.2 million pounds of compostable waste is thrown away every year, costing taxpayers nearly $80 per ton. No pun intended, but what a waste! A tremendous waste. Bloomberg also adds, “That waste can be used as fertilizer or converted to energy at a much lower price.” So why are we throwing away free fertilizer and energy? Doesn’t make much sense, does it?
Also, if you really don’t want to add worms because you innately fear they’re going to escape the bin and crawl into your bed at night (I feel you), then you don’t have to.
I’m a sucker for good advice on learning how to compost, especially when you live in a small apartment or urban environment in general.