Waiter, There’s a Yogurt Container in my Compost!


Another terrific, in-depth article from Deborah Rich in the San Francisco Chronicle–this one on the problem of people throwing trash into their green waste bins  (if it’s in the yard and it’s waste, it ends up in the yard waste bin).

If I were running things, everybody would have a backyard composter (and actually use it), or there’d be a neighborhood compost operation at every park and vacant lot.  All that lovely rotting garbage….a girl can dream…


  1. As an intermediate approach, I’d like to see designated days for garden (compostable) waste pickup during peak compostable waste periods like Fall leaf cleanup season. Waste disposal companies would need to distribute biodegradable (paper?)bags to each home (with more available on request) at least a week in advance of the specified date, with instructions and the date printed ON EACH BAG. If the bags were only available on request, a lot of people wouldn’t bother. To alleviate non-use and eventual discard of the bags, the instructions should make clear that all bags,filled or not, should be put out on the specified day (the one on the bag). That way unused bags could be sent out on the next collection day by simply slapping a sticker with the new date over the original date.

    That,I would hope, could reduce non-compostable trash in the compost stream. Recycling programs don’t work for the general public unless they are clear and easy to follow. I don’t want to say that the general public are idiots, but then I glance out the window at my neighbors across the street and think of my ex-husband. The general public, IN AGGREGATE, has a large number of idiots in the population, enough to ruin a more complex recycling program.

  2. Presumably, when we run out of oil, we will stop using so much plastic. By then, people might have a clue what composting is. Even at my daughter’s school garden, I sometimes dig whole bunches of vegetables out of the compost tumbler–still in their original plastic bag from the grocery store.

  3. There is an episode of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe where he works all the jobs involved in the process of turning the compostable waste of San Francisco into actual compost used on vineyard fields. He goes from picking up the green waste to turning the compost to spreading the compost around the vineyard. I wish more cities did this year around and not just when there are a lot of leaves on the ground.

  4. There are many communities that do not have proper recycling or have to ship there garbage out to other communities. I love gardening! I would love to see non-toxic compostable containers for food products. Especially single serving packaging. instead of a waste management there should be a soil building center. everyone wins, the people selling the product can sell the quality of the packaging and people buying have options of what to do with the useful package either at home or for community projects. we can move away from “plastics without a plan” so long as it is clearly labeled COMPOST. Maybe people could use the compost material to make methane for clean energy use too. the possibilities could be endless…..

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