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cs
04-02-2014, 02:18 PM
Some of you may know but I'm pretty big into recycling and compost and have actually reduced my garbage by as much or more than 2/3's. I have read somewhere on this thing that they call the internet that composting is probably the top thing you can do as far as recycling, but I really do have a question/thought.

The end game is to reduce the drain on natural resources and landfills. By taking out my recycles and my compost items I'm basically sending non-recyclable non-compastable items to the landfill. Granted over time everything will break down, but that is over time. I do wonder that by taking compost items out of the landfill if it slows down and/or hinders the compost that should be taking place at the landfill? The way I understand it you put your garbage in the landfill and they eventually cover it with dirt with the expectations that eventually it will break down completely. By taking out items that help in compost are we hindering this process or am I completely off base?

What say you? Am I out in left field with my thinking?

Chad

Jim Bow
04-02-2014, 02:35 PM
A local guy had his tools stolen from his work truck. Insurance finally sent him a check. He went to the local Lowes and bought all the stuff he needed, couple of thousand dollars worth. Out at his truck, he unboxed and un wrapped everything, put all the cardboard, paper, and plastic in a shopping cart and pushed it back to the dumpster area.
He left it in neat stacks for recycling.

switters
04-02-2014, 02:42 PM
Technically speaking when the put the garbage into the landfill is is compacted to such a degree that composting does not take place. So yes, getting compostable material out of the cycle is a very good thing.

AnalogKid
04-02-2014, 02:59 PM
Size matters with composting - a big heap gets properly hot and encourages a different range of bugs than a typically sized domestic heap. Maybe that has some effect in landfill even if most of the organic material has been removed.

The other factor is what you do with your home made compost. If you didn't have as much and that would mean taking a trip to the garden centre and loading up the car with commercially made compost, or take more trips to the grocery store to buy vegetables because you can't grow as many - then you've undone any potential good from allowing your organic material to accelerate the decomposition of the landfill.

slug
04-02-2014, 03:03 PM
Dont know. I my area the push for garbage separation and recycling is to avoid a growing landfill on the island.
The separated food , organic waste is turned into some kinda pellets for fertilizer and for burning . The local company just got an award for its pellet plant.

It would be good if plastics were more controlled...not so much and more easily degraded or converted to energy

Michael D. Storey
04-02-2014, 03:06 PM
Anyone got a slant on incinerated waste? Co-generation, stuff like that? If you take out all recyclable & compostable, what is left is dirty recyclable and animal parts. That stuff burns in co-generation. Which is better than land fill, because even if the ash goes to the landfill, it is inert by the time it gets there. Recyclables are so much a part of waste, historically, that there are companies that will dig up old land fills and 'mine' them for valuable products.

Suggest that you do not worry about the degree of activeness in the bugs, etc. Just do it, and encourage others to do it.

delecta
04-02-2014, 03:10 PM
Everything man has made will bio degrade in the proper environment.

bogdog
04-02-2014, 03:11 PM
I understand fifty year old newspapers are still readable when extracted from a landfill. I shred our paper and feed it to the noxious alien invasive worms we have...

cs
04-02-2014, 04:01 PM
Well I will continue on continuing on with my composting. I try to encourage others to recycle and do the same but I feel like it is an uphill battle, but I will continue the good fight because it is worth it.

We use our compost for the herb garden and some tomatoes and flower pots. I also use it to encourage grass growth in less fertile areas. I wish I could do more but alas I know of no place around here that will take household garbage and incinerate it produce electricity or some such thing.

Gotta love being the recycling Nazi.

Chad

Stiletto
04-02-2014, 04:12 PM
I too am into composting and recycling. I make a monthly visit to a transfer station with my recyclables and about every third month I have one rubbish bag for landfill.

My understanding is that most of what goes into landfill is inorganic so will take a long time to break down.

CWSmith
04-02-2014, 04:29 PM
If you are into composting, try worms. They accelerate the composting, leave castings that are better than simple compost, and produce liquid that is gold for indoor flowers.

bogdog
04-02-2014, 04:46 PM
If you are into composting, try worms. They accelerate the composting, leave castings that are better than simple compost, and produce liquid that is gold for indoor flowers.Just make sure you also use those noxious alien invasive Eisenia fetida ​for fishing too. Don't let 'em worm out of it.

CWSmith
04-02-2014, 04:48 PM
Just make sure you also use those noxious alien invasive Eisenia fetida ​for fishing too. Don't let 'em worm out of it.

I'm not familiar with those, but you can buy worms on line that are a species that remain fairly small and is ideal for indoor composting in northern winters. I know a bunch of people who do it.

PeterSibley
04-02-2014, 05:01 PM
I too am into composting and recycling. I make a monthly visit to a transfer station with my recyclables and about every third month I have one rubbish bag for landfill.

My understanding is that most of what goes into landfill is inorganic so will take a long time to break down.

I wish I could do that !

Packaging is the problem, everything comes with plastic wrapping ! All the recyclable plastics are sorted , glass and steel too of course but there are so many other non recyclable items.

Everything biodegradable stays here, food for the compost or the chooks.

PeterSibley
04-02-2014, 05:02 PM
My son has taken recycling to a new level. http://www.garbologie.com/ .
Rob J.

Good one Rob !

John Meachen
04-02-2014, 05:07 PM
I have a useful size compost heap.The last time I went to turn it over with a view to digging some into the garden,I found a wasp nest.I lost most of my interest in composting then.

bogdog
04-02-2014, 05:08 PM
I'm not familiar with those, but you can buy worms on line that are a species that remain fairly small and is ideal for indoor composting in northern winters. I know a bunch of people who do it.They're the "red wigglers" that are most common in vermiculture. Unfortunately they like most earthworms are introduced and not great for natural habitats but it's not even possible to control them. I got 'em myself in my composters they don't appear to travel away from the composter since it is recharged daily.

Concordia...41
04-02-2014, 06:53 PM
So how much trash should one person produce? I have a 13 gal kitchen can that I make a point to go 2 (and sometimes 3 :D) weeks between dumping based on reducing my buying, reducing my waste, etc.

I'm just one person and it struck me as wrong to take trash to the curb every week.

That being said, every week = 2 (and sometimes 3 :D) containers of recyclables at the street.

http://www.funniestmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/Funniest_Memes_i-don-t-always-take-out-the-recycling_2445.jpeg

There's no question in my neighbors' minds...

Garret
04-02-2014, 07:09 PM
He let go a very well paid job , to have a crack at this venture , and it looks like it is paying off.
He loves what he is doing , he is getting physically fit in the process , and is having a real impact on what is dumped in to the environment.
He is also employing a lot of people.
I've suggested he get in to recycling timber , I reckon that would be a big plus.
A while back (late last year) a bloke tired of trying to sell his cray boat.
He was going to take the chainsaw to it , and burn it.
A 60ft Huon Pine Cray boat.
With an 8 cylinder Gardner in it.
I reckon it would be smart to keep an eye out for those "opportunities".
Rob J.


That would be a find!

My local solid waste district is now recycling building material waste. They separate immediately reusable stuff (clean 2x4's etc.) & then separate out drywall, metal, wood etc. Junk wood gets chipped & goes to a local wood fired powerplant, drywall gets made into (gasp!) drywall, etc. It's removing a lot of junk from the waste stream.

Chip-skiff
04-02-2014, 07:18 PM
Everything man has made will bio degrade in the proper environment.

Where did you get that? Sheesh.

The problem with landfills is that the mix of waste includes a lot of things that either don't decompose well and toxic junk. The drainage from landfills is a serious problem because they tend to bleed toxic soup and pollute groundwater. The best practice is to recycle what you can, compost the organic stuff, and take the toxic/dangerous bits (nicad or lead acid batteries, CFLs, electronics) to a collection point.

We (household of 2 adults) generate one trashbag of non-recyclable rubbish per month. There's no collection where we live, so I'm acutely aware of our trash volume.

Peerie Maa
04-02-2014, 07:22 PM
They're the "red wigglers" that are most common in vermiculture. Unfortunately they like most earthworms are introduced and not great for natural habitats but it's not even possible to control them. I got 'em myself in my composters they don't appear to travel away from the composter since it is recharged daily.

Those red earthworms only survive in the top layer of a compost heap. Dig them into the soil and they die and rot down.

There was a report in National Geographic a few years back about an archaeological type dig at a big US land fill. They were finding stuff like steak still recognisable that had been dumped tens of years before, bogdog is right about news papers in his post.

We send our news print to recycling, but shred letters and bills and feed them to the compost bins in order to dilute the green stuff.

elf
04-02-2014, 07:39 PM
The only things I can't either compost or recycle here are meat bones, kleenex and kitty litter. Animal fat would be on the list too, but recently my cat stopped drinking water and I've started placing some chicken schmalz in her water to give it a little flavor.

The local private high school uses the styro pans from meat packaging as palettes or for mocking up a sculpture. My town collects all plastics except wrap and styro at the street. Also all glass and metal. We separate those items from the paper, but I recycle all paper except pizza boxes. The town does not want paper with food residue on it, so the pizza boxes have to go in the trash.

The grocery stores take the wrap.

Because of the kitty litter I do put a trash can out every week for pickup.

My town also composts yard debris and DPW maintenance debris and we can go get it for gardening, but the last time I looked it was full of sand, and a monoculture.

Only one town on the Cape still has a landfill. The rest of the Cape's trash is burned for energy off Cape. It's mostly transported there by train.

cs
04-02-2014, 07:52 PM
Here our local recycling centers take all plastics 1-7 combined in one bin. Quite a bit of packaging to include most plastic bags fall into that catagory. But of course I use re-usable bags but occasionally you end up with a plastic bag.

Chad

Stiletto
04-03-2014, 12:07 AM
I wish I could do that !

Packaging is the problem, everything comes with plastic wrapping ! All the recyclable plastics are sorted , glass and steel too of course but there are so many other non recyclable items.

Everything biodegradable stays here, food for the compost or the chooks.

Peter, I should have added that mine is a single person household.

PeterSibley
04-03-2014, 01:31 AM
Peter, I should have added that mine is a single person household.

That certainly helps ! Were I shopping for myself instead of 4 I think I could make choices that would reduce my waste to an very small amount |:). Unfortunately I do the shopping but the list of requirements is provided and the result isn't always what I would choose.

skuthorp
04-03-2014, 04:00 AM
What a pity we lost the old OzPol thread, I could have lifted several pages on the subject from it!:D
Remember Peter?

elf
04-03-2014, 04:02 AM
I do a lot of disassembly to reduce trash. For instance, when a cheap give-away-from-the-bank ball point pen runs out of ink, I take it apart and put only the ink tube in the trash. Once, when I finally decided to dispose of all the floppies in the house, I pulled them apart and recycled the disc into the sheet plastic and all the rest into the blue bin. Now that I'm scanning old film the cardboard slide mounts go into recycling, but the little pieces of film must go into the trash. Rather than recycle the laundry detergent and clumping kitty litter containers, they go to a local yacht club which cuts the bottoms off them and hands them out to the Opti class as bailers. I hardly ever take a plastic bag for big pieces of fruit at the grocery store, and wash the plastic wrap around pre-cut cheese and sliced ham, hang those up to dry and put them in the plastic bag recycling. I also pull the plastic spouts off the juice and milk boxes and put them in the blue bin. Unfortunately the multi-layer boxes can't be recycled except by mailing them away to somewhere.

The move to eliminate thin plastic grocery store bags is a mixed thing to me. I need the plastic bags for weekly kitty litter disposal and also for the toilet paper in the bathroom and lining the kitchen trash. If my town manages to ban those bags I will have to actually buy bags or shop in the next town over!

slug
04-03-2014, 04:34 AM
Packaging is troublesome....blister packs with six washers, two garden hose rubber gaskets in a blister pack, one 6 mm dill bit in a blister....and thats just todays quick stop by the BIG, everything in one place shop.

seems to be no way out.

Breakaway
04-03-2014, 07:34 AM
The move to eliminate thin plastic grocery store bags is a mixed thing to me. I need the plastic bags for weekly kitty litter disposal and also for the toilet paper in the bathroom and lining the kitchen trash. If my town manages to ban those bags I will have to actually buy bags or shop in the next town over

Yes. We repurpose those bags as well, for the reasons you state, as well as for other tasks. If those low density poly bags go away, I will need to buy other bags to replace them. My waste stream of bags will not be reduced. Only my wallet will be reduced.

Kevin

Garret
04-03-2014, 07:48 AM
Packaging is troublesome....blister packs with six washers, two garden hose rubber gaskets in a blister pack, one 6 mm dill bit in a blister....and thats just todays quick stop by the BIG, everything in one place shop.

seems to be no way out.

Blister packaging is an unbelievable waste. I recently bought computer headphones & they were in the heavy "have to use a serrated knife/tin snips" to get it apart plastic. Many places do not recycle this plastic - though luckily, my area does. I get my nuts & bolts either in bulk or for onesey's @ a local hardware store that does not use blister packs for them - though all their plumbing stuff is.

Garret
04-03-2014, 07:53 AM
IMO, a big cause of recyclables going into the waste stream is towns/cities that have trash pickup (or the transfer station) included in one's taxes, so no resident has to directly pay for trash. I visit a town like that occasionally & the percentage of recycling is pitiful.

If one pays for trash & gets recycling for free, there's at least some economic impetus to keep recycling out of the trash.

elf
04-03-2014, 11:21 AM
Of course, you realize the biggest point of the blister pack is to cut down on theft. Another is to facilitate standardized display units.

And another reason it's so poorly designed is that the equipment to manufacture it has to interface with the equipment which inserts the product into it. Clearly designing and manufacturing a separate type of packaging equipment for every random product that comes into the market place is pretty inefficient, so a lot of waste is going to happen as a result of using more or less universal packaging equipment on the production line.

As for tax-paid recycling, my town has had that for almost 30 years now and has had a committee to promote participation and negotiate the rates with the incinerator and trash collection companies. They are talking about Pay As You Throw recently, hoping to improve recycling rates, but already it seems recycling in town is in the 65% compliance range due to the committee's very visible promotion efforts.

Unfortunately my town is the only one on the Cape with that - every other town requires people to take their recycling to the town dump, or to hire a collection service. While going to the dump is well known as a Saturday morning ritual, it's still a terrible way to get recyclables out of the trash stream. And, since there are 3 companies which collect trash, some communities have the racket of the trucks going thru their neighborhoods 2 or 3 times a week, as each separate company runs on its own schedule, not to mention the waste of fuel involved.

But things are in transition right now because the incinerator also extracts recyclable materials before stuff goes into the furnace. And my state has had a returnables law, lame as it is, for 35 years or so.

Chip-skiff
04-03-2014, 12:30 PM
Copied this from my greenhouse thread. Haven't used the electric chipper yet, but the wee hand grinder works fine. We changed our kitchen waste separation to collect coffee grounds (which don't need grinding) apart from our veg scraps, eggshells, etc. The worms seem content, although they work more slowly than I imagined.

- - -

I just built a worm-compost thingie, with stacked frames a bit like a beehive, out of scrap wood. Loaded some crushed peanut shells and kitchen waste into it today. The worms are ordered. All the websites say it's dead simple, so I might do okay. The outdoor composters freeze up in winter and I'd like to be able to produce enough compost inside the greenhouse for transplanting and keeping things in good nick.

Ordered a hand-crank compost grinder for kitchen scraps and small prunings.

http://images.hayneedle.com/mgen/master:INGE001.jpg?is=360,360,0xffffff

Also ordered a chipper/shredder for larger stuff. Summer composting should go a lot more quickly if the woody things are reduced to chips.

http://www.chippersdirect.com/product-images/ES1600_4829_600.jpg
Since we've got the solar power, I got an electric one. It won't handle larger prunings, but most of what we have is small and twiggy. The other use is to make chips for smoking with the kettle grills— lots of alder along the river and other woods I'd like to try, such as serviceberry and aspen. (You'd think they'd quit calling everything ECO this or that— I'm over it.)

There are some posts about compost on my interminable greenhouse thread: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?113609-Greenhouse-Update/page13&highlight=

Michael D. Storey
04-03-2014, 02:54 PM
I too am into composting and recycling. I make a monthly visit to a transfer station with my recyclables and about every third month I have one rubbish bag for landfill.

My understanding is that most of what goes into landfill is inorganic so will take a long time to break down.

The Judith and I were talking about an article in the January Scientific American about energy sources, and why the author did not do a good job of research/thinking/writing, and we looked at the fossils as concentration of sunlight that allowed much energy to be in a small volume, and it occurred to her that composting was the same thing; concentration of solar energy.

That's all.

Phil Y
04-03-2014, 03:13 PM
My son has taken recycling to a new level. http://www.garbologie.com/ .
Rob J.
Good stuff! Hows he going with it?

Too Little Time
04-03-2014, 03:42 PM
I recycle a lot of stuff. The bank has a recyling bin and I go to the bank most days. So it is easy and convenient.

I compost my leaves. Most of the blow away, but I try.

I usually don't have much trash anymore, a 5 gallon bag once a week. But 6 loads of construction debis to the dump this year from remodeling and tearing down old buildings.

J P
04-03-2014, 04:38 PM
Couple days ago I took a large pickup load to the recyclers. Dropped some dead electronics off at a Best Buy and the rest at a metals place. Along with some miscellaneous scrap stuff there were three laundry appliances and a 400 pound cast iron bathtub from a remodel. Man, did it feel good to shove that tub off the tailgate knowing I would never see, or have to move that damn thing ever again. Got $70 for all of it, $12 of which was for aluminum beer cans. Unfortunately there are no glass recyclers here. I'll have another load soon of old barbed wire. That's lots of fun to work with, be glad to see it go too.

In New Zealand the retailers are not so quick to use plastic bags at check-out like they do here in the US. Some don’t offer them or charge something like 5 cents per bag if you want them. A grocery that we use when we visit there just puts everything back in a cart as they ring it up. You then move on and can either put your stuff in your own bags or there are often cardboard boxes available. I like it, keeps things moving. Practical and efficient.

I need to come up with a composting setup that is scavenger resistant. Birds, rodents, raccoons and such, are not too much concern … porcupines, and skunks, not so good … bears though, could be a problem. Any ideas? All I can figure is some sort of enclosure structure.

Chip-skiff
04-03-2014, 04:47 PM
I need to come up with a composting setup that is scavenger resistant. Birds, rodents, raccoons and such, are not too much concern … porcupines, and skunks, not so good … bears though, could be a problem. Any ideas? All I can figure is some sort of enclosure structure.

We have black bears here and they don't bother the outdoor plastic composters (I have three). Nor do the raccoons, skunks, or other scavengers.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-QcLTxh5x2DY/T6b9MoX-sOI/AAAAAAAACPw/H3P5l1usrSI/s650/compost4.jpg

We keep our trashcan inside the garage— it used to attract raccoons occasionally. If there were griz or brown bears hereabouts, I'd probably build a steel pipe frame and cover it with chainlink-type mesh, large enough to contain a couple composters and a wheelbarrow. The ones I've got need solar heat to work well.

J P
04-03-2014, 05:40 PM
Nice looking compost there Chip. Plastic barrels might work for me, chances of any griz showing up here are slim to none. I used to use a three bin setup I made of wood framing and wire mesh. It worked OK in the warm months but was kind of messy and attracted the aforementioned scavengers, though I never actually saw a bar in it. After my dogs got nailed by skunks and porcupines I quit using it.

cs
04-04-2014, 06:31 AM
Here is a couple of older shots of my compost pile. I built my compost piles using loosely stacked 8" cmu. I have now increased my compost to 3 bins like pictured. I use a rotation method with the first bin being where all the fresh stuff goes and as it starts composting I rotate it across the bins with the last bin being the completed compost.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/t1.0-9/310943_264756330228925_1647610993_n.jpg

https://scontent-b-atl.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t1.0-9/407324_312232082148016_1656681127_n.jpg

And here we cut top soil about 50% with compost to create the wife's herb garden.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1.0-9/398511_312230395481518_745165958_n.jpg

In the fall I use the mower to cut my leaves. This does two things in not only makes the leaves smaller and easier to compost but it also adds some nutrition back to the lawn.

Chad

Chip-skiff
04-04-2014, 01:15 PM
Nice looking compost there Chip. Plastic barrels might work for me, chances of any griz showing up here are slim to none. I used to use a three bin setup I made of wood framing and wire mesh. It worked OK in the warm months but was kind of messy and attracted the aforementioned scavengers, though I never actually saw a bar in it. After my dogs got nailed by skunks and porcupines I quit using it.

The compost in the barrow was screened. The green composter is great, but I haven't been able to find another. I got one similar to this:

http://img1.targetimg1.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/13/39/13397328_130510083000.jpg
It's black and developed stress cracks around the axle, which I fixed with epoxy. The rotating composters work quite fast, compared to bins and piles, and are way easier on your back.