Austin/ Environmentalism/ Texas/ Travel

Austin’s Residential Composting

I have not written an environmental post in awhile, but as I see so little people in Austin composting I wanted to share more about the program before I leave. This post will specifically help anyone living in Austin, or moving to Austin. But if you want to keep reading on to learn more about Austin’s residential composting to get ideas and take to your local officials that would be spectacular too.

So I believe that keeping the planet healthy will help keep humans and animals healthy. I understand the argument that what we as individuals do to contribute to the global warming crisis is very little. Many things need to change systemically to really make an impact. But I do not think that means we should not make small sustainable changes to make less of an impact on the environment. And then we need to vote for people who will write laws that support change and help the environment.

But back to the subject at hand. Austin has a residential composting program whereas many cities around the U.S. do not. This is awesome and I was so happy to hear that when I moved here. One note here is that I do not know how this works if you live in an apartment. I live in a house with family members. It may be different if you are in an apartment. If you know about this leave me a comment and let me know.

So for household residential composting…

The way the program works is you pay for your trash service based on how large of a trash can you get. When you buy trash service they also give you a recycling bin and compost bin ‘free’ of charge. Every week when your trash gets picked up compost will also be picked up from the compost bin. And recycling is picked up every two weeks.

From there they get taken to the proper processing facilities. So like the easiest way to compost ever. There is no watering, and turning the compost like you would if you were composting in your garden. You just have to separate the compost from the trash and then put it by the curb on trash day. Easy peasy.

Despite this program making it easier to compost I still see so few houses with their compost bins out on trash days. But the thing is, if you take the few extra minutes to sort your waste you can get a smaller trash can. Getting a smaller trash means paying less money for trash services. So not only are you diverting waste, and helping reduce methane emissions from landfills, you are also saving yourself and your family money. So win for the environment and win for you. So if this incentive is built into the program why are you not already composting? What is keeping you from composting?

Honestly I cannot even come up with good reasons not to compost when the city has this incentive and makes it so easy.

Now I want to tell you a little about how we deal with compost in our house. Running in and out of the house all the time while cooking did not seem like the smartest way to utilize our compost bin. And we did not want to buy a countertop bin. Every week I take a tupperware and use it as a collection bin for compost. I put in my coffee grounds, apple cores, strawberry tops, avocado pits, and any other compostable item in it. Then during the week I store it in the refrigerator to avoid weird odors and flies. You can also store it in the freezer. Then on the day the trash bin and compost bin need to go out I empty the tupperware into the compost bin and wash it out. The next week I start a new collection and repeat the cycle.

Compost Collection

So my way of doing this is not the only way. And may not be the way that works for you. But I wanted to share it with you so that you could get some ideas, and really find a way to start using those extra bins you already have.

Lastly before I end this I want to mention that the people who have the ability to make these choices; people who own homes, people who have more money, white people have to make these choices even though they are less affected by the resulting benefit. Climate change affects people of color, people in poverty, and other disadvantaged groups so much more than it affects those in better social standing. When we have privilege we need to use it for good, not for a way to be lazy and not care.

So in Austin if you are a homeowner composting is an easy sustainable change you can make to help the environment and the most vulnerable amongst us. So go look up what can be composted and start your own collection. And then educate your neighbors and friends. A few people doing these actions and others won’t change the trajectory of climate change. But whole cities, and whole countries of people will.

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