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My Experience With Composting: Weeks 1-3

In December of 2018 I made a whole blog post dedicated to my Zero Waste Goals for 2019. I will be sharing a half-way update on all of the goals soon, but thought that one specific goal, composting, deserved its own blog post.

As mentioned in the previous blog post, I was really interested and motivated to start composting. Well, sadly it took until the beginning of May or the start of my summer for me to actually start doing it. 

Why Did it Take So Long For Me to Start?

At the time of writing that initial blog post, I did not have access to a company who would pick up my compost for me. That is one obstacle that was in my way. I do not have a car nor do I really drive, so asking my roommates to start taking me to a composting drop off site in addition to them taking me to the recycling drop off was just too much for me to ask for. 

I am an active member of the sustainability club at my university and during one of our weekly meetings in February it was announced to us that our school was being funded by PepsiCo Recycling Zero Impact Fund to start a temporary composting program. Of course to me this was great news because that meant that I would have access to composting on campus and the obstacle of going to a drop off center was eliminated. Not exactly. Once more information came out about the program, it was more directed towards composting for the employees within certain academic and nonacademic buildings on campus. 

At this time I voiced my disappointment that there would be these composting bins on campus that I technically did not have access to, but had the desire to use. I voiced this concern to the president of the sustainability club who then had a conversation with the head of the Office of Sustainability at our university. At the next meeting I was told that I could drop off the compost I collected at two of the specific academic buildings. 

Even though I got this amazing news in March, it still took me until May to actually start utilizing the program. 

Week 1

For week one I actually filled up six and a half jars of compost. As you will see in the picture that I took at the drop off bin, I only took five and a half jars. Where is that sixth jar? Well, since you asked. That sixth jar only contained orange and lemon peels, so I used it to make a homemade/DIY cleaner. 

I am the type of person who loves using new things and gets excited when I start implementing a new zero waste or eco-friendly practice into my life so actually remembering to put my composting wasn't that hard. I should also mention that I did not initially tell my roommates, it just kind of came out when my mom was visiting and I told her to put her orange peel into a jar in the fridge. But thats okay because as far as I know no one has an issue with me keeping jars of food scraps in the fridge. 

During this first week I can only recall throwing away and not collecting eggs shells and doing that out of habit. Since then I have corrected that habit. 

Week 2

For the second week I produced seven jars of compost. One of those jars was dedicated to the strawberries that my sister didn't finish before they got moldy. Other than that the contents of the jars was the same from week one. 

The 15 minute walk to the drop off bin was tricky this week because I had to make the trip within a window of time when it was not raining. I usually find the walk to be a nice way to get out of my apartment on the weekend and to listen to a podcast or music. This is probably a good time to mention that composting is a lifestyle change that takes time and effort, but personally I find the rewards to outweigh the work I put into it.

Week 3

For the third week I produced five jars of compost. Now this week's drop off was interesting because I was also dealing with rain. I went to the drop off bin that I was told to use and found that it was not there. I went on a Saturday and assume that something was wrong with the bin so it was picked up on Friday during the normal pick up and they didn't have an extra with them and that is why the bin was gone. So I went to the one that I was specifically told not to go to because I don't work at that building and there are cameras. But I thought to myself if I get in trouble I will just explain myself and hope my ability to compost isn't taken away. So far nothing has happened. 


This summer as a job and internship I working at one of my university's child center. I am able to eat what the child are eating. Most of the time I don't, but there have been a few times where I did eat an apple or berries but had to throw the apple core and stem away because I didn't have a reusable container with me to take it home to then compost. Now that I know this is a challenge I will be keeping a reusable bag with me so I can be prepared for the future. 

Things I Don't Find Challenging But That You Might

I make all of my own meals, so I am able to monitor and collect the food scraps that I produce. If you don't make your own meals than asking the person who makes your meals to start composting could be a challenge.  

Finding a drop off center or collection site if you don't plan on completing the total process needed to make usable compost, is another challenge that I struggled with and might again in the future if the temporary program doesn't become permanent on my campus. 


My takeaways from this lifestyle change is that there are still areas that I could work on (the food waste I produce at work and the food waste my roommates produce), but that doesn't overshadow the amount of compost that I have collected in the last three weeks.

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