Sometimes I dream about solid waste diversion marketing and talking points (aka getting people to compost and recycle properly instead of landfilling items).
I dream of how I can communicate clearly enough to people to make them change their current habits – changes that I think are pretty easy (to me)… but, well, require changing ingrained habits.
Re-creating the habit loop is hard enough – even when you WANT and are MOTIVATED to do it (run instead of sitting on the couch? ☹) – it’s hard to make the change. But how about when you are told it’s for the better of everyone, but really, you aren’t that invested?
Plus, add the fact that many people find the topics of recycling and composting super confusing (which is true) - well, you got the perfect triple whammy.
So how can I help you create that new habit loop that ensures you throw that banana peel into your compost pail, instead of putting it into your landfill container?
What if I told you that you would be an eco-warrior if you started composting instead of landfilling all your discarded food and soiled paper?
Not interested in being an eco-warrior? Well, how about the fact that it will save you money in the short term AND the long term to compost instead of landfill?
What’s your motivation?
And what if I removed the confusion by breaking down composting into a couple of rules:
- Anything that was ever alive, plant or animal (meat/fish/bone), can be composted in City of Napa and unincorporated Napa County.
- Soiled paper and cardboard – from pizza boxes to paper-based ice cream pints – need to be composted and CANNOT be recycled due to the oil/grease and/or paraffin liner on the item.
- Cheap paper, like parchment paper, paper deli wrap, paper towels, wax paper, muffin wraps, coffee filters and MORE can also be composted – just no plastic.
What happens when you throw that soiled pizza box into the recycling container? You contaminate it.
Paper recyclers use water to separate the paper fibers, so if there is food/oil/grease on the paper – they cannot separate the paper fibers from the oil to recycle them.
That is why we say No Food or Liquid in the recycling bin – what is the point of recycling clean paper and cardboard when it is only going to get dirty by food or liquids that you tossed in there, making it un-recyclable?
So, what’s stopping you?
Are you nervous about the smell? How about attracting rodents? How about the “ick” factor?
If any of those three are true for you, consider this:
That banana peel, onion peel, meat bone, eggshell was going into your landfill container – now it is just going into your brown (or green!) compost cart. It is the same material you already had, it is not re-generating itself to create an abundance of food, smells, or ickiness.
Certified compostable bags are permitted in the composting stream, so if you NEED a liner, try one of those! I purchased a set of 100 almost 5 months ago for $10 that I am not even halfway through…. Just make sure to empty the compost pail as much or more than emptying your landfill inside container.
Or you can use a paper bag as you do your weekly clean out of the fridge.
How about making a spot in the freezer or fridge to hold your compostables until pick-up day? Any chance of smells is eradicated. Especially if you have filled up your compost pail and then forgot to empty it for weeks on end and then get too grossed out about emptying it (yes, I am talking about you).
Composting is awesome.
And I just want to share that with everyone.
Having a holiday party/get together/gathering/training/luncheon?
Buy paper plates, paper cups, and use reusable utensils and you have everything (except the utensils) heading into your brown (or green!) compost container instead – using your landfill for the real landfill items, and making a great environmental impact (and cost savings)!
COMPOST IS AWESOME.