Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 24, 2020 by Noreen Wise
San Francisco has been aggressively steering towards becoming the first waste-free US city by 2020 since all the way back to 2002. Just imagine being a completely waste-free city. It sounds so blissful. A modern day Utopia of sorts.
With only six months remaining in 2020though, I’m sure cities across the US are eagerly pulling for this eco-trailblazer as it closes in on the final stretch. It’s amazing to scroll through Twitter and view the steps San Francisco as taken to accomplish this remarkable feat.
We all must now follow the same road map in a fraction of the time, 18 months according to some scientists. It’s agonizing to see how long it takes to move a mountain. Although there are already millions of us across the country who have been attempting waste-free living for months, perhaps even years, and have gotten into the groove and are reaping the benefits, we have to help motivate others. Our own towns, cities and organizations. Everyone simply MUST follow San Francisco’s lead. Our children’s lives depend on it.
methane doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere as carbon (9.1 years vs 200 years), but is a major contributor to global warming all the same
our soil is desperate for nutrients
composting our food waste at homes, eateries, and cafeterias, and mixing it into the soil in our communities, solves two crises at the same time, curbing global warming by cutting methane emissions while simultaneously increasing carbon sink in soil
nourishing our soil with compost instead of fertilizer will also cut down on the pollution found in our water supply by scaling back on the fertilizer toxic run off that occurs when it rains and through lawn watering
South Korea has already banned food waste from landfills. Washington DC, has proposed the same. On October 22, 2019, the Zero-Waste Bill was introduced, proposing the elimination of food waste from the DC landfills. DC has an exceptional composting infrastructure already in place. Give and take, collecting community compost at multiple farmer’s markets in the city while offering it to residents for free at these same locations.
In learning the logic behind the composting movement, it’s now very important that we act swiftly to adapt to the changes required. Every household should make this easy transition ASAP. Once cured, which takes 4-6 weeks, adding home compost to home gardens or a nearby forest is one way to make good use of home compost. Additionally, the vast majority of local communities on the East and West Coasts have composting facilities for residents, and many collect compost at the farmer’s markets each week as well.
Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 1, 2020
by Noreen Wise
It was an exciting excursion to the grocery store today to see as many as 90-95% of shoppers wearing a facial covering and gloves. It spoke volumes. The grocery store itself was doing an amazing job of keeping the public safe:
huge roll of paper towels on top of carts with spray cleaner (yes, I washed my cart down)
repeated overhead announcements that there’s a global pandemic and that covid19 requires social distancing, “please stay six feet apart”
the self-checkout area of two parallel rows of five cash registers on each side, was spaced appropriately so that only four of the ten registers were in use
everyone waiting in line was six feet apart
It gave me peace of mind to see with my own eyes that the vast majority of us in Northern Virginia are paying attention and following directions. That we care about the well-being of others. We respect the advice of the experts: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Fauci, our own Governor Northam, and many others. And that we understand that as soon as we’re all onboard with these types of daily habits — facial coverings, gloves, keep our distance, respect of others, follow advice — we’ll be able to phase back into society and slowly restart the economy one step at a time. We’re showing by our actions that we’re ready to do what it takes.
Look how quickly we accomplished this. Less than six weeks. Commendable.
Let’s do the exact same for climate, nailing one component at a time. Home composting is ultra simple. Food scraps that we normally throw into the sink composter, get thrown into a covered plastic kitchen bin, that can be added to a larger yard or garage bin weekly or daily depending on how many are in our household.
It’s advised that once compost is tossed into the larger bin, that the heap should be turned once a week, and water added to speed up decomposition. It will take approximately one month for it to be ready to till into our yard and or forest soil. The breakdown of the larger garage or outdoor bin, should be one third green scraps — food scraps that include all foods, tea bags, coffee grounds and filter, egg shells, lint and grass trimmings — and two thirds brown scraps, made of leaves, twigs, shredded newspaper, and hay. The green scraps contain nitrogen, and the brown contain carbon. The ratio of one third green to two thirds brown is important.
According to Home Composting Made Easy, as much as thirty-five percent of our household waste can be reduced if we home compost. Waste management has been a thorny challenge during covid stay-at-home, so a reduction in the amount of waste to pick up will improve the well-being of these essential workers, conquering two challenges at the same time.
When home compost is added to the soil, the increase in nutrients enables the soil to sink more carbon. Further, the fungus and good bacteria found in the compost protects trees from deadly nematodes as well as other plants which increases the amount of carbon each can store. The compost nutrients nourish nature, enabling it to grow taller and fuller and in so doing, store that much more carbon.
Okay, let’s go! Can we all nail this in six weeks the way we accomplished covid facial coverings? Of course we can. I’ve been home composting since October 2019, and find that it’s a significant improvement in household waste management. I love how my kitchen garbage is so lean. I only need to empty once a month. Nothing stinky to worry about. I either recycle or compost, so the only garbage is plastic bag packaging, the kind that frozen vegetables are packed in. Good luck!🌱
Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 8, 2020
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.
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:
all fruits & vegetables scraps
coffee grounds & tea bags
animal manures (except dog and cat)
straw and hay
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.
Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 6, 2020
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:
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.
A month later, Red Duckcreated 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
Glass recycling or reuse for storage containers, drinking glasses, vases, etc
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.~