Tag: compost

What Can Be Composted? | Circular Economy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 8, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Composting is quickly becoming a very big deal. Knowing what can be composted, particularly at home, will net many positive rewards for you as an individual as well as your household, the environment, and for contributing in the lowering of global atmospheric carbon levels.

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Since there are so many benefits to composting, the sooner we start, the better. For the most part, it’s broken down to a solid mix  of “Greens” and “Browns,” the add a bit of water to the bin. Per the US EPA, the breakdown is as follows:

GREENS

  • all fruits & vegetables scraps
  • coffee grounds & tea bags
  • egg shells
  • grass clippings
  • yard trimmings
  • house plants
  • animal manures (except dog and cat)
  • seaweed

BROWNS

  • paper
  • cardboard
  • shredded newspaper
  • branches
  • dead leaves
  • pine needles
  • paper napkins
  • straw and hay
  • sawdust
  • corn stalks
  • dryer lint

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Check your city to see of they have compost drop off stations. Many towns and cities do. Washington DC for example, has compost drop-off at every farmers market, and during winter, there are three locations, one of which is opened on Sundays. Spring and summer months, the public can pick up compost for free to use in home gardens.

We’ve got this, LET’S GO!~

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Let’s Commit to Zero Waste in 2020 | It’s Very Simple

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 6, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Let’s nail the waste scene as soon as possible. It’s not complicated. It just takes focus.

I began 2020 super jazzed to be living a circular economy life. I jumped in running the last three months of 2019, and was pumped to have it nearly perfected by December, which is when I successfully managed a zero waste month. I felt like I’d won an olympic gold medal, not to mention the excitement of having extra money in my pocket the way Wall Street geniuses always do.

Waste is something we can all manage on our own without being forced by laws. We just wake up one morning (tomorrow morning hopefully) and say, “I’m in!” And voila, we’re three quarters of the way there.

A zero waste life is about setting up a defined circular economy zone in our households where we can easily breakdown everything we consume so that it can quickly be turned around for multiple uses. The goal is:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle & Upcycle

Refuse is a big deal. We have the power to motivate businesses to do the right thing very effectively by refusing to buy certain products that create waste. For example, back at the beginning of October 2019, I made the decision to never buy ketchup packaged in plastic again. This was very difficult, because Heinz has cornered the market and there were no glass alternatives. I called Heinz, but Heinz refuses to sell ketchup packaged in glass the way they used to. So I made the bold decision to switch to BBQ sauce which is 85% packaged in glass.

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A month later, Red Duck created a brand new product, ketchup in glass. It’s delicious, so much healthier. And it’s organic too. Thank you, Red Duck! A responsive American corporation meeting consumer demand.

Additionally, I now use the recyclable paper towels made from bamboo that can be washed a hundred times. They dry on the counter so quickly. This has dramatically reduced our household waste.

Household kitchens should have multiple bins:

  • Composting for food scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Paper recycling
  • Plastic recycling
  • Glass recycling or reuse for storage containers, drinking glasses, vases, etc
  • Aluminum recycling

Once this is all set up, you’ll soon find that you have no garbage. It’s startling. On New Years Eve 2019, I lifted the lid and my garbage bin was completely empty.~

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Setting Up Our Home Compost Bins ASAP

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 15, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

For the millions of us searching for effective next steps in reducing atmospheric carbon, as well as lowering our personal carbon footprints, having a home compost bin is a significant step forward. The best part, is how easy compost bins are to step up and maintain.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300According to Exploring Green , Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, 51% of trash is compostable. This food that is thrown away in landfills turns into methane. Methane increases global warming 21 times that of CO2. But when food waste is composted and then layered into the soil, the soil becomes so rich with nutrients that it substantially increases the amount of carbon the soil can sequester, which lowers our atmospheric carbon level, and reduces the global temperature.

Homes, restaurants, and large dining facilities — whether that be school cafeterias, hospital and corporate cafeterias, mall foodcourts, and large banquets and conference centers — should all be tapped into the simple compositing process. Be on the lookout at restaurants in your area. Most healthy and organic venues now have compost bins.

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There are many ways composting space can be set up. It all depends on where you live and whether you’re able to have a larger outdoor bin.

  • In the kitchen, it’s best to have a small bin, with a handled bucket  that can be lifted out of the lidded container.
  • All food scraps we normally stuff into the sink disposal, will instead by placed in the compost bin.
  • The small compost bin should be emptied each night into the larger bin that is either stored in the yard or garage.
  • It’s important that the large bin is ventilated, and turned with a large stick once a week.
  • Air enables the compost to process faster.
  • An official compost bin has a lower hatch close to the ground, that can be opened when the compost is ready, and easily removed to place in soil around the yard.
  • If you live in a condo or apartment and want to keep everything light, you may want to try a small lidded container on your porch or patio that you can empty by layering into a nearby forest floor regularly.

 

Hands emptying a container full of domestic food waste
photography by AdobeStock

Schools Districts have jumped into the act in a big way, transforming the composting process into a learning lab. Many schools share their composting efforts through social media and it’s very exciting to see students energized by being part of this planet saving effort.

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Teachers really enjoy these interactive, climate action learning labs, too. Win/win experiences are positive and invigorating, making learning fun and joyful. What parents doesn’t love that?

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If you don’t have time or yard space to set up and maintain your own compost bin,  a whole new industry is starting to take shape. CompostNow.org is a compositing service for home, office, and restaurants.

  • They provide heavy duty plastic bin.
  • They pick up full bin each service day, and leave an empty one.
  • They track waste & compost creation by the pound.
  • Members earn compost! Very easy and rewarding… literally.

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So, take the leap. It’s super easy and will instantly contribute to carbon reduction!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Longworth HOB & Critical Compost | Climate Action

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 4, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Success in reducing atmospheric carbon levels to the targeted 350 PPM from the current 412 PPM will come from tiers of immediate action. If every tier nails its targets, we’ll save the globe and civilization. This should motivate us to Act Now, especially when we consider how basic and easy many of the “actions” are for lowering carbon.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300The main TIERS:

  • Individual carbon footprint
  • Corporations, businesses & organizations
  • Local, state & federal government and agencies
  • Farms
  • Nature
  • Miscellaneous

All we have to do as individuals is focus on the tiers that we fall under. The greatest obstacle to succeeding at carbon reduction though, is missing the small, easy opportunities that we fail to recognize. The ones right under our nose that we would be able to execute immediately if we were more aware.

Composting is the best example of a basic missed opportunity. For example, take the Longworth House Office Building dining hall in Washington, DC where thousands of constituents, lobbyists, and House Representatives eat breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday each week. Sadly, Longworth does not currently compost, despite the fact that the US Botanic Garden is across the street and would thrive on weekly fresh compost, as would the massive acres of capitol grounds that are also across Independence Ave.

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According to Exploring Green , Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment:

  • 51% of “trash” dumped into landfills is compostable
  • Annually, the world throws away approximately 1.3 billion tons of food
  • 3.3 billion tons of CO2 is released each year to process the wasted food (production, harvesting, transporting and packaging)
  • Wasted food thrown away in a landfill releases methane
  • Methane increases global warming 21 times that of CO2
  • On the other hand, wasted  food that’s composted and layered into soil, increases the soil’s nutritional content which increases the amount of carbon it can sequester

Thus, composting uneaten food at home, at work and in restaurants and dining halls is a no-brainer. In fact, many school districts are jumping in. Capitol Hill dining halls would only have to change one of its two trash signs to “FOOD/COMPOST.” This is so easy, it’s scary.

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Trash sign at Longworth HOB dining hall. A red asterisks has been placed on the items that can be composted. The uneaten food would have to be removed from the packaging before it’s dumped into the compost bin.

Our oceans sequester approximately 25% of atmospheric carbon and nature 28%. The big challenge with ocean carbon sequestration is that it increases water temperature as well as acidity. The increase in water temperature, melts the glaciers which raises the global water levels. The higher temperature also causes changing climate which becomes that much more extreme.

To save humanity from climate extremes, the focus is now on increasing carbon sink in nature and in soil, and trying to lower ocean temperatures. Nature — which means planting more trees and greens, and elevating the nutritional values in soil — is one of the new climate action touchstones on the carbon sequestration front. In short, compositing has become a vital necessity. Thus, missed opportunities sound the alarm.

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Composting has become such a critical factor in the success of lowering our atmospheric carbon levels, that a whole new industry is starting to take shape. CompostNow.org is a compositing service for home, office, and restaurants.

  • They provide heavy duty plastic bin
  • They pick up full bin each service day, and leave an empty one
  • They track waste & compost creation by the pound
  • Members earn compost! Very easy and rewarding.

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When the carbon facts are this simple and the cost a bare minimum, and #ActNow only a matter of changing signs, it’s unfathomable how anyone would pass on this opportunity. Come on, Longworth… let’s FIX THIS!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Tree Crisis Compounds Climate Crisis | Quick Action

Washington (GGM) Analysis | September 3, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

With such an overwhelming blow to rainforests in the Amazon last week —  4,000 new fires detected in less than 48 hours, and 80,000 total fires in 2019 — we must move swiftly to replant and reforest on every continent.

The Amazon is considered the “lungs of the world.”  On average, we lose 65 trees every minute, 93,600 trees every day, and 34.16 million trees every year. This in and of itself is a human civilization-threatening reality. With the global population rising, and carbon sequestration falling, the only way to save more lives is to immediately act in response to the recent escalation in the destruction of the globe’s forests.

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The Path Forward must be a global commitment to:

  1. Lower carbon emissions faster
  2. Increase carbon sequestration faster through conservation, replanting as well other natural carbon sinks, most notably soil
  3. Cut back on paper products (we have to sacrifice our love of lush, fluffy double-ply anything)

Students love getting involved with climate action. So with the new school year beginning, let’s create a game plan. How about every American student planting 10 trees per school year? Some countries already require this.

  • Planting trees in groups is a lot of fun
  • Students can fundraise together, form an after school club and have meetings to decide where they’ll plant trees, as well as what types of trees
  • Working on a life-saving and planet-saving project brings out the best in us, builds character, and rewards with a new perspective on life
  • This can also be a fun family project on weekends
  • Best time to plant trees is the fall & the spring, September is an excellent month to get started

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There are many more benefits we receive from trees than just oxygen. Trees become friends. They are wonderful listeners. They nurture and support. Trees teach lessons about growing roots, and patience… the benefits of sunshine, as well as rain. Trees stay in our lives for a long time, providing stability. They grace us with shade and shelter. Trees share secrets about what it takes to grow big and strong. Trees are wonderful companions for students. A student tree force will provide many cures, not only for the environment and the climate crisis, but also for society in general.

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Enriching the soil all around us with more nutrients through composting, will also increase sequestration. Every restaurant and home should compost. No more using the sink disposal!

Steady daily pacing of recycling, composting, planting trees, switching to solar, walking more, driving less… will get us on our way to new green habits, and a less frightening future.

We can do this!

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Compost & Carbon Sink| Climate Action

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | August 23, 2019)
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Compost is a big deal in the calculus for increasing carbon sink in our soil. It provides one of the most effective methods for the US public to assist with cutting carbon as deeply and swiftly as possible.

Peat is a compost. It looks very much like soil, but is simply partially decade vegetation rich in nutrients. These nutrients are what enable the increased absorption of carbon. Peatlands are only 3% of our global lands, yet they store approximately “30% of the earths soil organic carbon.” In light of our extreme #ClimateCrisis, peat should never be removed from its environment to be sold to consumers for profit.

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The ever increasing carbon levels as the global population continues to grow, demands that we each do our own part in every way possible to curb carbon, especially in light of the fact of how simple and easy this actually is.

As we hurry to build infrastructure to support solar energy and EV autos, it makes sense to simultaneously hustle to improve our natural carbon storing assets, which will further the lowering of CO2 in our atmosphere.

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Creating compost bins wherever possible can provide the much needed extra compost for forests, home gardens, public gardens and parks. It was exciting to see a “Compost” bin at the restaurant where I ate today. It was lined up with the other options at the recycling and garbage hub. I always feel so hopeful when a business “gets it” and does it’s little part. The care and maintenance of a compost bin in a restaurant is minor, but the benefit to society is huge. It pretty much follows the same ratio mentioned at the top of the page: 3% / 30% .

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We can do this!

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