As you may know, organic matters are not meant to end up in a landfill. The conditions there are not optimal for their breakdown and the collection of the gases they emit while they decompose.
This is why it is important to find a solution to dispose of food waste and maybe even turn it into new material or energy to close the loop!
Some Portland residents are very lucky to have access to curbside composting. But not all of them. Whether you live in a neighborhood that does not offer the option to compost curbside or in multi-family housing that did not implement composting from the get-go, here are a couple of local solutions that can help prevent your food waste (and other compostable materials) from ending up in a landfill.
I've said it before and will keep saying it. Building relationships with your neighbors is a treasure!
You can do so by waving at them on the street and starting a conversation about trash or you can use Share Waste, a map-based solution that can help you locate a neighbor who's willing to share their compost bin with you.
Sign up (for free) and plan for your next compost drop-off.
If your employer composts, why not take your compost to work? A great way to not be the weirdo bringing smelly packages to work every week, make sure you keep a compost bin or bag in your freezer and take it out at the last minute before leaving for work.
Why not inquire with local food-generating businesses to see if they compost and if yes, whether they might be willing to accept your food scraps? This includes neighborhood coffee shops, restaurants, and coops. My Zero Waste PDX map might send you in the right direction.
During your next shopping session, make a mental note of composting solutions at the places your visit. For example, New Seasons collects cork for recycling.
Composting at home
And of course, you can always give a try to the following a try
If you're lucky enough to have a backyard, backyard composting is an easy way to start converting food waste into food gold. I did this for a couple of years in Portland and have had no issues with pests and rodents. I just made sure to turn the compost regularly, balance out greens and browns, and add moisture when needed.
Worm Bin Composting
After I moved to a smaller town with no garden suitable for composting and no curbside composting, I decided to give vermicomposting a try. My friend Anne had hosted a "tour" of her worm bin set up through our Zero Waste PDX FB group and made the process seem easy enough.
Octave and I ended up building our own bin (we kinda have a woodshop at home now) and got red worms from a local "grower". But can we talk about how aesthetically pleasing this one is?
We had to bring it inside when the temperature got too low (we live in the high desert now) and got some issues with flies - which wouldn't have happened had we kept the bin inside from the very beginning.
I considered bokashi composting for a minute, but didn't want to invest in yet another set-up and material, though it can be DIYed for cheap.
I ended up finding a tumbling composter for free on my local Buy Nothing group and haven't looked back.
Do you live in an apartment building that does not offer composting? Why not try and convince management to offer this solution?
More eco-friendly, less odors in the trash room, I'm sure there's an argument to be made.
I heard that a couple of Master Recycler alums chose this as their "graduating project", why not give it a try? There's no harm in asking!
Have any questions?
Make sure you know what goes and does not go in the compost bin and remember "When in doubt, throw it out" - but also call the amazing experts at the Metro hotline for any composting question.
And as always, I highly recommend you join the discussion about composting in our Zero Waste PDX group.
Pictures by Del Barrett and Edward Howell
This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase via one of my links, I may make a commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!