Guest Rant by Roy Mastromauro
You don’t compost?
Why is that?
I’ll tell you icky, broham. How’s about a banana peel 10 years
old, looking like it did before you put it in the garbage?
icky. Because it’s in a state of suspended animation, surrounded by all those
styrofoam peanuts, q-tips, and coffee grounds you and everyone else is putting
in the garbage. Encased in a lovely shroud of plastic.
Think your garbage
smells? Why are you combining it with everyone else’s? Let someone else deal
with it, you say.
And they will. It’s not an easy business, and hardly
efficient; all those big trucks running daily routes to pick stuff up that you
just know you could compost.
But, it’s icky. You get some flies in the
house, some flies on the pile, and to hell with it.
Come to think of it,
the landfill is sorta like hell, isn’t it? Where everything goes that everyone
wants to forget about. And each in it’s own little cell, way down
Know what’s icky? That a “green” landfill might actually promote
itself as environmentally friendly by taking your crap and harvesting the
methane off of it. It’ll be a shining star in the community, because it uses
your crap to build a mountain and make methane.
And someday sell it back
to you? Now that’s icky.
If you’re not composting, and doing it fiercely,
you’re making folks laugh at those that do. “Ah, those crazy kooks out there in
San Fran, what’ll they come up with next? Whatta they gonna do next? Eat raw
fish?” Every time you toss a banana peel, you sushi roll goes bad.
like dirt, you keep your eyes out for sales on soil amendments. Once in a while,
you might buy a bag of it. Meanwhile, you’re trying to figure out the best way
to deal with your leaves this fall, all those weeds you pulled. “They’ve got
seed heads,” you say. If your damned garden was so precious, you wouldn’t have
let the thing go to seed in the first place, would you? Compost the stuff, give
your plants the nutrients, and let them crowd out the weeds.
I won’t even
get into the “right” way to compost. There just isn’t. I’m pretty sure, though,
that there are better ways to do it. However you do it, it’s bound to be better
than letting the landfill do it, though.
All that old-school stuff about
what and what not to put in the compost heap has got to end. Nothing magic
happens at the dump that doesn’t happen in your back yard. It’s just going to
take a whole lot longer out there, and it’s going to be mixed in with everyone
else’s crap. There’s a way to compost it. You are not the first one who had a
stinky compost pile, and you won’t be the last. Everything composts somewhere.
You might as well get the good stuff from it.
Roy Mastromauro is a Cincinnati native, husband and father of two boys. His
composting efforts started the day after he bought his first home, and now
involve finding ways to get his hands on other people’s compost stuff. He is
actively involved in learning, teaching and writing about compost methods,
gardening, and securing a sustainable future for his family and community.
Photo credit: D’Arcy Norman.