Composting: If I Can, You Can!

March 1, 2022


Sheila Oliva
As a former corporate communications professional in the energy industry, Sheila helped educate external audiences on the potential and value of current and future technologies for powering our planet. Today, she is a freelance writer and student still exploring how people can live in harmony with the planet we inhabit

Years ago, I was lucky enough to live in a rural area with some land, and I had a good friend, a retired landscaper, who gifted me my own compost bin. Having small children at the time, I was determined to raise a generation that knew how to reduce their footprint on this beautiful planet. So, the lessons began. 

If we raked leaves, in the bin they went. When Halloween pumpkins rotted and began growing mold, they were put in their new home. We had a small pail outside the kitchen door to collect our dinner leftovers or our egg shells from baking someone’s birthday cake. The bin filled quickly. 

But I soon learned that I was not qualified to teach any lessons on turning food into soil. My friend attempted to give me some instruction on how to get our biodegradables to turn into dirt for spring planting, but I never seemed to grasp all that needed to be done. Or perhaps I just didn’t have the time or dedication to oversee the “cooking.” Either way, turning all that garbage into dark, rich dirt was intimidating.

Then we moved. Our new house didn’t have room for the compost bin, and I didn’t have the confidence to bring it along with us. Living in the city limits, I gave up my hope of turning our waste into nutritious dirt. Then, quite by accident, I read about a local composting company: CompostNow

“What is all this about?” I wondered. Very little research revealed that there was an industry emerging, an industry I like to call “Composting for Dummies.” For a small charge, the company that most intrigued me promised to:

How much you contribute each week determines how much of that yummy compost dirt you have access to. At any time, you can order a bag (or several bags) of dirt if you have accumulated it in your bank, and CompostNow will deliver it to your doorstep with your weekly bin exchange. If you are not a big gardener or don’t have enough land to use all the dirt you have helped create, you can donate it to a local public garden and the company will supply it. 

They had me at, “We will deliver the dirt to your doorstep.” I signed up immediately.

The bin arrived a week later. Excited, I beckoned my two (now) teenagers and a teenage exchange student from Italy who was living with us to gather and gaze lovingly at the bin. The company had accompanied the first bin with a handy fridge magnet that illustrated all that could be deposited in it. So the lessons began again. However, three sentences in, the Italian teenager rolled his eyes and walked away saying, “I’m European, I know this already!”

And there it is, folks. When it’s something you grew up with, it is not intimidating. It’s just a natural part of how you eat a meal, do yard work, and throw away things you are done with. So, like me, if you want to send a little less to the landfill every week, consider composting. You will be surprised at how quickly it becomes an unconscious part of your kitchen. And hey, maybe you’ll get to feel a little European in the process.