Now There’s No Excuse, Baltimore: Composting Made Easy

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According to Compost Cab, the average American family produces about 500 pounds of leftover organic material each year. “The vast majority of these organics takes a long, fossil fuel-powered trip to the landfill. Methane from these landfills is equal to around 20 percent of the pollution output of coal-fired power plants in the United States,” CC notes. One solution to reducing this waste is seemingly simple — composting! — but proves to be difficult in practice.

See, I like to think of myself as a person who would compost. It’s such a useful, efficient way of turning food scraps into fertile soil, and it gets you a lot of Green Points. (I know no one’s actually keeping score… but doesn’t it feel like sometimes they are?) But I’m also afraid of keeping food scraps in my house (have you seen the size of Baltimore rats!?) and I’m wary of the smell of gloriously decaying food. Other cities have dealt with the problem of people like me by pooling their resources to create composting services that include home pickup, pre-fab composting bins, and soil exchange programs — and now, finally, Baltimore is getting in on the action.

Compost Cab provides subscribers with a composting kit (complete with collection bin, compostable liner, and a Composting Made Easy guide). You fill the bin with your food scraps, and then once a week CC comes by to pick it up. They charge less than $8 a week for the service. But the real benefits come in the spring and the fall, when CC will deliver a chunk of ridiculously fertile soil to your door (the average amount is 50 pounds) — or you can donate it to a local farm. CC is accepting charter subscribers in Baltimore throughout the month of January, so if you want to get in on the action, now’s your chance.

There are other composting projects in Baltimore — Real Food Farm in Clifton Park accepts compost drop-offs, and the Baltimore Free Farm launched a Community Composting Program last year. Winter is a great time to get in the composting habit, since there are no bugs, and you can get your soil ready for spring plantings. So really, now there’s no excuse.



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  1. Or, for zero dollars a week, dedicate a small space in the yard where you pile shredded leaves and those food scraps. In the spring, you have the pile of rich fertile soil, without having the cab (= gasoline engine) driving your scraps all around town.
    Say you don’t have a yard big enough to put a trash can in? OK, invest the price of three weeks Cab rides in a vermiculture bin that can go under the sink. Feed the food scraps to a thriving colony of worms who turn the waste into castings, a.k.a. soil that would grow prize petunias. No muss, no fuss, no smell.

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