Tag Archives: compost

What I finally found the courage to throw away

 

I spent good money on it. It was a special deal. Organic. Super-size pack. I dreamed of all the pleasure and wellness it would bring me, day by day.

It was more than four years ago, which I can only calculate because I can see in my mind’s eye having the big cardboard box of it in the apartment I haven’t lived in for over four years.

At some point, I tossed the cardboard box the fruity green Whole Foods tea came in, and I transferred the remaining plastic packets of tea bags into my catch-all tea box … where they’ve sat. And sat. And sat.

Unopened. For four years.

And last night, looking at them, trying to fit my Triple Echinacea tea into the box (stocking up for winter sniffle season!), I thought: Hmm, these are taking up a lot of space. 

And I thought: Maybe I’ll use them though. They’re still sealed in the plastic packets. Maybe I’ll want them this season. Maybe I’ll have a guest over who wants them. 

Gnawing away at my stomach, as my hand held them mid-air, frozen, was this feeling: It would be such a waste to throw them away. 

20141211-103633-38193731.jpgThen I had that vision of my old apartment, with a four years younger me, trying the tea I was so excited about, and not, to be honest, really loving the flavor. A little too fruity, a little artificial tasting. I hadn’t wanted another cup in four years. I hadn’t opened the packet to serve it to a guest. It was time to let go.

And then I remembered my loophole: my compost! Also known as the you-don’t-have-to-eat-that-shriveled-orange exemption, or the those-herbs-have-seen-better-days bin. 

Into the salad container in the freezer they go, like a limbo for sad produce and onion skins. And like that, years of letting this little mistake, this guilt-clutter, this biodegradable depravity, weigh me down like so many organic cement blocks, came to an end.

Back to the earth you go, poor little tea bags. May you come back as cherry tomatoes.

 

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New kid on the block: compost bike

Top speed: 100 miles/hour, I think.

Make way in the bike lane for the newest thing in biking and do-gooding! This new project, the NYC Excess Bodega Bike, combines some of my favorite things: Spain, innovation, and environmentalism, and puts them on wheels in the form of a custom cargo bike. Like something Mrs. Armitage would ride, this Franken-bike can weigh, carry, and compost food picked up from small, food-centered businesses like coffee shops and markets that are throwing it out. The edible food can still be eaten, the waste won’t end up in a landfill, and the compost will end up at a community garden. Winning!

This project was originally done in Madrid and known as Mermas Carrito, but the Bodega Bike bike was put together during a free, collaborative workshop at Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward, which is how I found out about it. Though the pick-up service is meant to be temporary, Excess is only partnering with businesses “in exchange for a commitment from the participating businesses to improve their food waste practices.”

Now I’m going to give away one of my million-dollar ideas: why not set this up as a social-purpose business? Waste disposal is a serious cost for businesses, and if someone can develop a business model that makes diverting organic waste to a composting program more affordable for anyone in the food industry, you’ve just won yourself a lot of clients. Coffee shops would hire you to pick up all those used-up grounds, and then someone else pays you for the compost you’ve produced with it. People are paying you left and right to just take care of a mountain of dirt, and the environment and your bank account are flush with green. I’ve been promising myself to look into this for some time.

Drop me a line if you want to go into business together. In the meantime, keep up with the food rescue and compost project on Excess NYC’s site, whose blog also has lots of other great learning for ya.