The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: composting

October 27, 2010

Green Burial: Like Composting Food Waste, and Your Body is the Food.

This post might creep some of you out.  But with Halloween coming, the members of the Green Moms Carnival decided to do something a little macabre and write about green funerals.  I’m okay with that.  While it’s hard to talk about death and what happens to us after we die,  I do find myself thinking about it a lot as I’m walking home from BART late at night, glancing around furtively to make sure no one’s following me.  Will this be my last walk home?  What haven’t I finished? Have I done enough so far? And what will happen to this body I carry around once I’m not in control of it anymore?  I don’t want my final act to contradict my life’s work.

Traditional Cemetery = Landfill

By equating a cemetery with a landfill, I’m not trying to be disrespectful here. All my friends and family who have passed on are buried in traditional cemeteries. But as in a landfill where organic matter like food scraps,… Read the rest

June 19, 2009

Confession of a Fast Food Addict who ate at Amanda’s and forgot to BYO.

The theme of the Green Mom’s Carnival this month is Eco-Confessions. And I have a big one. I love fast food. Every time I pass a McDonald’s I have to close my eyes and count to ten to keep from going in and ordering a double cheeseburger. This fact probably grosses some of you out. And when I think about what a McDonald’s double cheeseburger is made of, it grosses me out too. But it’s hard to think about the cows and environmental degradation wrought by the meat industry (and the mono-culture GMO corn industry) when I catch a whiff of those burgers sizzling on the grill.

But that’s not really my confession. Because mostly, I manage to resist that McDonald’s urge that was instilled in me as a child through no fault of my own. I resist and resist. And the few times a year I succumb, I get out with no bag, no napkin, no cup or straw or ketchup pack. I do try to mitigate the damage as much as possible because I’m always prepared… Read the rest

December 30, 2008

Video Tour of My (Nearly) Plastic-Free Kitchen

Here are some snippets from the market research video I referred to in yesterday’s post. A quick, rough, and unscripted tour through some of the green aspects of our kitchen. Future videos, should we choose to make them, will be much more polished. But this one is fun, if only for the appearance of a couple of curious cats halfway through.

You might need to turn your sound volume up to hear it.… Read the rest

November 25, 2008

Contest Answer – BioBags okay for compost only.

A week ago, I showed this photo from the SF Green Festival and asked what was wrong with this picture. No one offered the specific answer I was looking for, but many gave great partial attempts.

Ken O. noticed that all the bin liners are biodegradable, and he’s right. In fact, they are all corn-based BioBags. Lara S. gave an excellent answer, “the plastic bags are unnecessary and shouldn’t be there (compostable or not… it’s a waste).” If these bins were at our homes, most of us could do without any liners at all. Michael and I don’t use any kind of garbage bags at our house these days… compostable or not.

But for a big 3-day event where there is quite a bit of solid waste (despite being a zero-waste event!) it’s more practical to swap out some kind of liner than to move many, many bins around.

So here’s what happened: these green BioBags were the first thing I noticed when I entered the convention… Read the rest

September 30, 2008

My little plastic-free veggie garden

Sorry for the quality of the photos. For some reason, my camera and the sun would not cooperate last week when I took these. Anyway, here’s my very little front yard garden grown almost entirely without plastic. Yep. Little. And late. Because I didn’t get started until June. But it is what it is, and maybe you can offer some advice for next year.

If you’ll recall, the soil/fertilizer for my garden is a mixture of front yard dirt, my own homemade compost, and recycled potting soil from my dismantled roof garden. No new plastic bags of anything.

On the left are my four tomato plants, which are probably way too close together. They arrived plastic-free from my friend Jennconspiracy in little coconut coir planters. I removed them and tossed the planters in the compost. Then later found out I should have put the whole thing into the ground.

I was mocked and derided back in June for thinking that I could use one metal cage for four plants. I had… Read the rest

March 21, 2008

Update 2 – Urban Composting

Inspired by Life Less Plastic’s excellent Step By Step Composting Guide and info about her Compost Tumbler, and also after many questions from readers about my experiences composting with my Urban Compost Tumbler, I thought I’d post a quick update.

Back in August I wrote a detailed post about the various composting options for someone in an urban environment without access to a yard: Compost Tumbler: a solution to the potting soil problem? So I won’t rehash every option and the reasons why I chose a compost tumbler instead of worms or bokashi. But I will reiterate that I ultimately chose the Urban Compost Tumbler over other tumblers because it is made from 100% recycled plastic rather than new plastic. And I had heard about rust issues with metal compost tumblers.

I’ve now been using this one for over 7 months, and I’ve found it’s not as wonderful as I’d hoped. It’s a little over half full now, and… Read the rest

November 24, 2007

What’s wrong with this picture?

Out for a nice stroll, buying nothing yesterday, Michael and I were dismayed to see Telegraph Avenue lined with plastic bags full of brown leaves. What’s wrong with that? Everything!

Our city councilwoman, Jane Brunner, has been working on getting more trees planted along our streets. Do more trees mean more garbage for the landfill? This beautiful compostable material gets sealed up in a plastic bag to mummify with the rest of the garbage instead of being returned to the soil to nourish new trees? If that’s the case, someone’s not using their noggin.

I’m going to call the city on Monday and get to the bottom of this. Oakland ought to be handing out compostable leaf bags and hauling them to our commercial composter. Well, I rescued one bagful for my personal compost. Any other Oaklanders could do the same. Even if you don’t have your own composter, you could free the leaves from the plastic and empty them into your green… Read the rest

August 6, 2007

Compost Tumbler: a solution to the potting soil problem?

Good lord, what is that Death Star looking thing on your roof, Beth?

No Worries. It’s my new Urban compost tumbler and tea catcher, ready to devour food, garden, and some paper waste and deliver rich, fragrant compost… in 2-6 months, depending on how diligent I am in feeding it.

But it’s made of (gasp) plastic!

That’s right. 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. The only part that is not recycled is the tea catcher, and I’m having a few regrets about ordering that part. Seems like I maybe could have figured out another way to catch the compost leachate without buying a brand new piece of plastic. Well, live and learn.

So, how does it work?

Glad you asked! Simply add your “green” (fresh leaves, grass, food scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, anything wet and pungent) and “brown” (dry leaves, grass, shredded paper & cardboard) waste, close the lid, spin the compost tumbler a few times to mix… Read the rest