Bay Village compost service is off to great start
On Jan. 25, the Bay Village Green Team hosted their quarterly public meeting and reviewed 2021 accomplishments. Last year was a good year for the Green Team, offering the public many opportunities to learn about simple ways to live in a more environmentally friendly way.
The most impactful change that the Bay Village Green Team helped foster in 2021 was coordinating a drop-off compost service for Bay Village. In September, Rust Belt Riders started its drop-off composting program for residents (or even non-residents who would like to drop their food waste off in Bay Village).
Between September and December, 3,901 pounds were diverted from landfill to compost in Bay Village’s drop-off location alone. Fantastic work, Bay Village! We have 43 households signed up to use the drop-off location in the northeast corner of the Bay Lodge parking lot, on Bradley just south of Wolf. The location is accessible 24/7 and provides clean, secured bins for members for $10/month.
The city and Green Team are aware that the Bradley location is not convenient for a large portion of Bay Village, and will consider another drop-off location on the eastern side of Bay if the current location gains 10-20 more household sign-ups – so please consider signing up and trying it out for a few months. Also, if more residents sign up, Rust Belt Riders also has a home pick-up service they would start offering, but will not provide it until we have more households. If you would like to see the home pick-up service brought to Bay, please start by signing up for the drop-off location.
Curious about how households collect food waste to bring to the drop-off? Here is a typical scenario: Most people will keep a small container in their kitchen that they will pull out when cooking a meal, and then again when cleaning up, to put food waste in. They will then take this small container (when full) and empty it into a large, 5-gallon bucket (lined with a paper bag) that they keep in their garage. Then, they will transport this bucket over to the drop-off location about once a week.
You’re thinking, “But isn’t that smelly and gross?” No, it isn’t as bad as you think. If the container is open-air, the air circulation helps the food waste not smell. At the drop-off location, members will use a 4-digit code to open the bin and then dump the entire contents of the bucket (including the paper bag). Easy peasy! The bucket is ready to be filled again. To sign up for the service, visit www.bayvillagegreenteam.org and click on “Green Your Waste” on the left then “Drop-Off Food Waste Composting.”
In the United States, 40% of all food is sent to the landfill and only 6.3% is composted. Households account for 43% of this food waste, businesses 40% and farms 16%. Why is it important to compost and to keep food out of the landfill? Compost is a valuable resource so when it ends up in the landfill, it’s being wasted. Second, it is in all our interest to keep as much as we can out of the landfill because we are literally filling land with waste – and eventually we will run out of that land. And third, when food breaks down in the landfill it creates methane gas, which accounts for 10% of greenhouse gases emitted in the U.S.
Waste in landfills breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen) which is why it produces methane gas. Methane gas is 25 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Composting completes the cycle of food: it is grown from the earth and then is returned to the earth to enrich it.
So, you’re thinking to yourself: "Great! I’ll compost! But why do I need to pay for the service and drive it over to a special location?" Well, you CAN compost at home and use your compost for your garden and beds. When you add it to your garden, you are adding nutrients to your soil and improving your garden. Compost takes the place of chemical fertilizers and helps soil retain moisture, meaning you don’t have to water as often!
Compost releases nutrients that are long-lasting, contrary to chemical fertilizers that provide a quick dump of nutrients which then wash away into our waterways, adding to the problem that causes the algae blooms in the lake. Composting at home is different than industrial composting, which is what Rust Belt Riders offers for $10 a month.
Residential composting is typically comprised of raw fruits and vegetables, egg shells, coffee grounds, black and white newsprint, fireplace ashes, dryer lint, and yard waste (leaves, sticks, etc.). Adding meat, dairy, cooked food, and bones to residential composting will attract animals. Keeping those materials out of your home compost will ensure that animals are not attracted to it. I have been composting at home for years and have never had a problem with animals.
Industrial composting is beneficial because you can add ALL food scraps including cooked food, bones, meat, bread, and dairy. You can also add BPI-certified compostable products (disposable plates, forks, cups, etc. are available using this material) so if you are hosting a party and you use BPI-certified products, you can bring all of the party waste over to the new compost bins and guess what? You have a zero-waste party!
What is not accepted at the compost bins is pure oil or pure liquid. For more information, visit bayvillagegreenteam.org. You can also download the free Better Bin app for a complete list.
Whether you decide to compost at home or use the Rust Belt Riders drop-off, please know that you are making a difference. You are keeping a valuable resource out of the landfill, you are adding less to the landfill, and you are doing your part to create a more sustainable future for Bay Village and the earth. Each of our seemingly small acts add up to create a large impact – proven by the impressive amount Bay has already diverted from the landfill in just 4 short months! Imagine what we could do if more of us participated!