Composting (Revisited)

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It’s almost been a year since we set up a composting system (three bin) in our new backyard. We haven’t turned the piles yet, as the snow keeps coming, but I’m sure the process was halted with winter.

We keep a veganic, raised-bed garden and we’ll be adding soil from the compost to the beds.

Composting expanded over the year. I used to think that composting was limited to plant-based food scraps, but now I keep a compost bucket in my bathroom too! We’ll compost hair, nails, konjac sponges, and some tissues. I’ll empty my vacuum canister over the pile (which helps to keep the allergens from being re-released into the home). I’ve dumped my dustpan into the compost, too.

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This all wasn’t without any issues, though. One concern we had included tea bags. Many of them are coated in plastic (typically polypropylene) and thus don’t break down. Good luck knowing which ones, though. Now, one of my favorite tea companies, Bigelow, does have compostable tea bags (remove staple first), but each bag comes in a sleeve. So. Celestial Seasonings has less waste production in my opinion. The cardboard is recyclable, the bags are compostable, and there are no staples, strings, tags. I haven’t found anything on the wax paper used to line the box, however. Some wax papers may be coated in inorganic and uncompostable synthetics, some in beeswax, which aren’t vegan, and some contain soybean or vegetable oil. Gardening websites tend to recommend not adding wax paper to the pile.

The nearest bulk location is an hour away (and that’s one way), but loose leaf tea is the obvious solution. What we are still working on, is a monthly drive to our bulk location. This will require some planning, because we need to know how much we use in a month’s time, how to budget for a larger shopping trip once a month, seasonal concerns (winter can get really hard here in terms of traveling and time) etc. etc.

The second concern that we had to address was tissues. While technically compostable, I really didn’t like the idea of tossing so many trees. We’ve since tried to adopt a hybrid system. Personal daily handkerchiefs for those old enough to manage (The kids haven’t mastered blowing their noses yet). When we’re sick, we tend to take a roll of toilet paper from the bathroom to use and compost the mess. When we’re healthy or for guests, there’s the blow and throw system (blow your nose in the bathroom using toilet paper and flush).

Going Forward

(1) Remind myself and my husband to grab a handkerchief

(2) Buy tea in bulk, preferably, and Celestial Seasonings, secondarily

Until next time, keep that talk walking!

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