Compost Logistics for Beginners

A Quick Rundown of Logistics for Composting as a Beginner, Featuring Vancouver, WA, USA Options.

Hello, I recently have gotten a few people asking me about how I compost. Well its most likely all different for everyone. I am not an expert! I have little experience, but I tried a few of these methods and read into them a bit. Composting is a crucial element for sustainability. It’s a beautiful thing that God created for organic matter to be re-purposed, re-used and honored. It becomes something else in creation that we all need, food for our food made from our food.

Options for in the home and the main compost bin/pile (pick one of each)

In the home/Kitchen: for the initial disposal of scraps/compostables: On kitchen counter, under kitchen sink, right outside kitchen on patio in:Ice bucket with lid (pretty)

  • Ice Bucket with lid
  • Large mason jar, glass jar with lid
  • old tin, coffee, nut, yogurt container with lid (ugly but inexpensive)
  • Any kitchen compost pale or bucket, they come in stainless steel, bamboo, ceramic, wood and more! 

From the kitchen to the compost bin/pile:

  • Live in a place that has curb side pick-up, how awesome Portland, Seattle and more!
  • Have animals that eat food scraps like pigs and chickens
  • Hire a pick-up service. Vancouver, WA: 
  • contact a farm that you can drop off scraps
  • Drop off at your friendly compost-friendly neighbors house
  • if you live near a large forest or ravine, ditch it there, it’ll decompose!
  • Pile- pick a corner or area of your yard to be your designated compost pile, you can set up 3 sides if you want it more container and cleaner looking. They also sell these – just look up Wood composter or something like that. You’ll need a pitch fork or good shovel.
  • Spinner, Rotating, tumbler compost bin
    • or you could DIY your own 
  • Worm composting, I have never tried it, but it sounds like a fun. I believe the process of composting goes faster. Downsides are you must be mindful that the worms don’t freeze, and you order the worms online (kind of weird?)
    • Usually called Worm Factory, or Tray Worm Compost bin, there are DIY versions with plastic tubs, I am not a fan of plastic but at least the Worm Factory ones are recycled plastic, the upside to plastic ones is its light to ship, store, move. here’s one website Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm
  • There are wood box style bins or even tumblers to buy on Esty
  • Youtube to make your own
  • Bury method- no turns needed. You just collect scraps and bury them at least 12 inches in your ground. good for if you are preparing a section for gardening. The slugs and worms will have at it and your soil with be nutrient rich for gardening
  • Aerating method. this person built there own and let nature do its thing with since (like the forest ground) things will compost with oxygen and bacteria- they are everywhere and free. 
  • Electronic (pricey one-time fee) like this. 
    • never tried but seems awesome! for those who aren’t too garden-y/outdoorsy, get-your-hands-dirty people
  • Stacking Terracotta composter like this 
    • Terracotta Solar Composter. This is the one where you bury the bottom, it looks pretty and you don’t really need to mix it, it may fill up depending on how much food scraps you produce,/size of composter.

The smaller tumbler could work with small yards or patios. If you only think in-home will work for you than a small electrical or solar powered. Check the last few out on this list for small in-home ones.

If I were you….

I personally am going to contact the pick-up people! But if I were you and I had the space I would make my own like the very first picture (because it’s the least expensive). If I didn’t have the space and I wanted it to look nicer I would do one similar to the terracotta solar composter. If I didn’t have space and I could spend the money I’d do one of the smaller in-home electric/solar ones. If I had kids and I was trying to teach them about waste and gardening I would do a worm bin. If it was all too overwhelming for me or I didn’t have space (studio apartment) but I wanted to care about the environment I’d do a pick-up service. The Vancouver Landscaping business that does food scrap pick up doesn’t say the price, but they give you a free estimate (maybe neighbors could go in together).

composting for beginngers

What to Compost

  • all food scraps except meat, cheese, highly processed and oily stuff (we don’t eat much of that)
  • cotton (like the top of vitamins, cotton scraps from sewing, ripped up socks, thread, twine, unbleached paper towel/napkins shredded up a bit)
  • coffee grounds with filters, tea bags, plant matter like house plant trimmings or flowers I bought for a vase, plant decor.
  • cardboard (limited dye), paper bags, newspaper, un-glossy paper again with minimal dye (paper stickers only, no plastic coating or foil coated stuff) (just tear it up a bit, or reuse it til it literally falls apart)
  • Compostable cellophane (very little of it), those stupid compostable straws, utensils (this is for my experimentation because some need to be industrial composting but I am annoyed at all of them and want to see if they break down)
  • small wood chips, wood things like chopsticks, toothpicks, skewer sticks

Compost needs some moisture (comes from veggie most likely), turning/stirring (unless stated otherwise with specific bin) and more brown than green material Carbon/nitrogen, browns are (usually brown colored) wood matter, paper, coffee grounds, eggshells, and green is veggie scraps (the colorful wet goopy stuff).

Clear as Compost?

You are encouraged to comment on any advice that I missed or stories you have had with composting. Contact me or comment with questions and how it all goes for you. Thanks!

Just days in of June: A Month of Zero Makeup

Not a lot beats some sunshine in a grassy field, makeup or not.

May 31- Taking advantage of my “last day” to wear makeup

June 1- Day 1 of June: A Month of Zero Makeup

Thoughts Lessons Emotions Questions

Only 6 days in and I’ve already learned a lot about myself. For one, its not as climactic and exciting as I thought, not a lot of people notice or say anything if they do. I guess its not ‘proper’ to ask why someone isn’t wearing makeup. Funny, because I would gladly tell ya! Maybe now I will start complimenting people when I notice that they aren’t wearing gobs of makeup, they usually look like themselves more anyway! Better yet, complimenting peoples smiles and achievements rather than go for the superficial stuff first. A weakness I have found is that I find myself envying peoples hair color, texture and style. Maybe it has to do with frustration that the world is full of toxic options for the earth and our bodies, and those are the norm! That I choose not be ignorant and use chemicals, dyes, waste, fragrances and plastics. I thought I was going to be nervous to go to work, where it’s assumed that one will wear makeup to seem more ‘professional’, but surprisingly it hasn’t really phased me that much. With that said my acne has been a tad bit more controlled so that makes it easier. I also have gotten used to not doing my makeup for my getting ready routine. It’s kind of nice to take that decision out of my day. It’s just in the beginning so we’ll see what else is in store these next few weeks. Will I just go back to my same exact feelings and routine at the end of this?

June: A Month of Zero Makeup

June is happy, June is bright, June is sunny, June is fun, June is a good month. A good month to do something crazy. I’ve been so fed up with societal “beauty”, acne and makeup that I’ve decided to ditch it for a month. Completely. No make up. You heard me.

Zero.

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In April I did a Week of Zero Waste DIY Challenge: Beauty Edition. But now it’s basically summer!June is acne awareness month and in respect of this, I am hoping to make a stance against toxic makeup brands, toxic pollution, and most of all toxic human perception. As a result I hope to gain a truer understanding of my own self perception as well as how I perceive others. I hope to influence and intrigue you and others around me to do the same. I guess that’s what a blog is anyway. HA! How freeing and enlightening to say BYE to all that BS and show the world our true beauty. Our inner beauty. I bet a LOT of women around the world don’t even have the option to make themselves “flawless”. I reject isles and isles of masking chemicals that tell us we’re beautiful if we’re “perfect”. I pray that in this process I learn so much and gain a better appreciation for what I have. Wanna join me? Contact me and we all can be strong women together this month through supportive care, encouragement and flat out fun. Check out ZERO WASTE: Makeup vs Beauty. It Takes Years. Advice, Triumphs and Fails.

Conclusion: It was AMAZING, I think I’ll do it every June! My month here:

June 2 June: Let Your Inner Beauty Shine

June 6 Just days in of June: A Month of Zero Makeup

June 9 Conventional Makeup is Poison: MIND, Body, and Earth.

June 13 Husband Applying Makeup Video

June 22 TGIF: My Hardest Day of Zero Makeup

June 23 Conventional Makeup is Poison: Mind, BODY, and Earth.

June 26 “You are Beautiful” written by a fellow blogger Megandlife

June 30 Conventional Makeup is Poison: Mind, Body and EARTH

DIY Soothing Detox Face Mask. Monday- A Week of Zero Waste DIY Challenge: Beauty Edition

Welcome to A Week of Zero Waste DIY Challenge: Beauty Edition. Lets start with something super easy! Check out Tuesdays DIY Lip Balm.

DIY Soothing Detox Face Mask

What I love about this, is that it is made from pretty common, natural-living household goods therefore quick, cheap and readily available to mix up a batch when I run out.

What you need

  • 1/2 teaspoon Green Clay
  • 1 teaspoon White Bentonite Clay
  • 3 capsules Activated Charcoal supplement
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda (optional, are bottom notes)
  • 1 teaspoon+ liquid- water, green tea, aloe juice, rose water ext.

Activated charcoal can be used for many different ailments because it soaks up toxins. Baking soda is the backbone of going all natural; being a key ingredient in DIY Deodorant, baking (DUH), cleaning and MORE! Bentonite clay is a little less common (I had to research and buy some after going all-natural, natural grocery store and amazon) but very useful, detoxing and nourishing! I still haven’t figured out exactly green, white, red Bentonite clay. The Indian Healing clay I have has a green tint and the Redmond Clay is more white. They have a little different properties/strengths I’ve noticed from experience. If I use only Indian healing clay my face is red afterwards. And If I only use the Redmond’s, my face doesn’t feel as detoxed. They come in recyclable plastic and will last my at LEAST a couple years, but I intend to find a zero waste alternative next time. On the bright side it’s better than using those pre-packaged masks- so much trash!

Ingredients/Instructions

Mix together dry ingredients and store with a tight lid in dry place. To get activated charcoal out twist and pull apart veggie capsule to reveal the black powder. I keep the empty capsules to use to homemade essential oils tabs. When ready to use the mask, mix 2 parts dry to 1 part liquid into a paste(may have to add a couple more drops liquid) and shmear on face. Leave for 10-20 mins. It’ll get dry and cracky. Wash/rinse off. Use a nourishing facial oil and tonic afterwards (or whatever your face moisturizer routine is) you’ll feel brand new!!

The important thing is knowing your skin, I’ll just go right out and say it, I have acne, the bad cystic scarring grueling stuff. So I use this daily during breakouts and once a week for maintenance. For you it might be once a month when your feeling grimy, only spot treatment on those buggers we call zits, or twice a year during a girls night in with cucumber eyes and all. TIP: use before or in shower for less of a mess!

Notes: omit baking soda(or any component to that matter) if you are sensitive to it or don’t have mod-severe acne. Also, I just use water, anything else is a lot of effort.

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical provider, just in case you didn’t know.

A Week of Zero Waste DIY Challenge: Beauty Edition

Day 1- DIY Detox, Soothing Face Mask

Day 2- DIY Lip Balm

Day 3- DIY Anti-Dandruff, Moisturizing Hair Mask

Day 4- DIY Healing Lotion Bar

Day 5- DIY Daily Sunscreen Face Moisturizer.

Day 6- DIY Eyebrows and Eyelashes FAIL; lessons learned

Day 7- Rest, Celebrate and Mourn Earth Day

A Week of Zero Waste DIY Challenge: Beauty Edition

JOIN ME for A Week of Zero Waste DIY Challenge: Beauty Edition. Who is pumped? I am!

Daily recipe and/or review of a brand new do-it-yourself beauty product.  I will also push you to exchange plastic for re-usables, challenge you to swap chemicals for natural ingredients and pass out exclusive little pearls of wisdom for zero waste living.

Day 1- DIY Soothing Detox Face Mask

Day 2- DIY Lip Balm

Day 3- DIY Anti-Dandruff, Moisturizing Hair Mask

Day 4- DIY Healing Lotion Bar

Day 5- DIY Daily Sunscreen Face Moisturizer

Day 6- DIY Eyebrows and Eyelashes FAIL; lessons learned

Day 7- Rest, Celebrate and Mourn Earth Day

Follow me via email or Pinterest to get the updates! Thank you everyone who stops by and is somewhat interested in living a more simple, sustainable, green life!

5 GO-TO items that ZERO WASTERS should consider ditching

Things I gave up and grieved after really putting effort for caring for the earth, trying to go zero waste and reduce my overall consumption in an attempt for a simpler, sustainable and more fulfilling life.

Disclaimer: Zero Waste, Zero Waster does NOT mean we create literally zero waste AT ALL, ever, anywhere. We strive to reduce our trash and plastic consumption. It’s a little different for everyone and its a journey. Join me 🙂

Just to be clear, you don’t HAVE to give these things up, not completely. It’s just making it a conversation/thought process, setting priorities and accomplishing baby steps to a better earth. And they are…. (drum roll please) nail polish, artificial food dye, bagged popcorn, conventional tea bags, and chewing gum. Sold? (I’m really not selling anything) Great! Not sold? Scroll below for more info.

There has been a time in my life where I could’ve told you all I needed was these five things and I could live my life happily ever after. Well let’s just say that has changed immensely. I am assuming that most 1st-world women can agree that out of most of these items, one is in their purse right now or in their daily regimen. And it makes sense! Colors are fun on your nails and in your food, popcorn and tea are their own food group, and gum can be tasty, good for your breath, something to occupy the mind while concentrating. The list goes on. With that being said, they are NOT so good for you and the environment, in the conventional way. Here’s why I think so. Shall we dive in?

A woman getting her nails painted by a beautician.unsplash-logoKris Atomic

1) Nail polish and MOST manicures. Man this stuff is scary… it’s the epitome of NOT NATURAL. And sorry ladies, it is ‘cute’, but vanity should only go so far. Nail polish really doesn’t say anything about your external or internal beauty. Even the rated ‘fair’ nail polish ingredient list is intimidating. Let alone the plastic packaging/lids/brushes AND chemically removing it. I, for one, like to know what is going on my body and then in my bloodstream. One Green Planet has a great article on The Ugly Truth: Toxins Lurking in Nail Polish Are Harmful to Your Health and the Planet. The occasional spa day is still definitely warranted, but try to find a salon that uses plant-based ingredients and ask for no polish. Sad but probably for the better eh? If your not ready or willing check out these 7 brands of Non Toxic Nail Polish. I’m not sure if any of them are the perfect alternative, but one bottle would last quite a long time, and almost nothing is a perfect alternative so it’s just your individual battle. The goal is to reduce, but for me nail polish can go without too much fuss.

eaters-collective-219711-unsplash

unsplash-logoEaters Collective

2) Food dye(artificial). I think that humans (probably most likely Americans) take something made to be good, and make it bad- hence artificial petroleum-derived food dye. Food dye is something to give up with being zero waste because of how they produce it, what they put in it and what they sneak it into. They most likely are in highly preserved, processed packaged foods, come in little plastic bottles for consumers and are linked to hyperactivity in children WAIT WHAT (via article on food dyes.) Plus, there seems to be good options for natural dyes via natural grocery stores or DIY with fruit, veggies, roots, herbs and more! I like turmeric powder for yellow and beet powder for pink/red. I still need to try using spinach. Here’s a link to a diagram/website that has the different plant color visuals. You literally just puree and add some water, then filter/strain if you want, fun and creative. Plants are awesome, AMEN.
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3) Bagged popcorn. Man is this stuff good, BUT there are BETTER alternatives, let me tell you because I am a FAN of popcorn. Why Microwave Popcorn Is An Absolute Health Nightmare has good insight on the most popular grocery store microwavable popcorn brands. Also, if it takes a while- google, clicking, reading and repeat- to find out info about a product or even a good alternative product, there may not be much out there for you to know and/or the companies are hiding something. I personally do not participate in animal products due to lack of clarity with sourcing, animal living conditions and other complicated, in-depth stances, but we’ll save that for a rainy day. So might as well control what’s in your scrummy popcorn. You can get a microwave reusable bowl that pops popcorn (although I didn’t have any luck with the pampered chef one, haven’t tried any others), an air popper (my parents have one from the 90’s and it’s amazing), a popcorn stovetop pot-yes that’s a thing, make it over the stove (I do this the most), brown bag and/or DIY at home popping, or most intriguing to me…make your own reusable fabric bag like this!! Easy as that, pick one and go. It reduces a lot of trash because most bulk stores sell organic, non-GMO popcorn. IT’ll CHANGE YOUR SNACKING/MOVIE TIME LIFE.
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unsplash-logoDrew Taylor

4) TEA…but not all, just most store bought, name brand, high industrial/mass produced conventional tea/tea bags. You see all this info online about composting tea and and tea bags BUT what to do with the darn envelopes, the tea bag’s bag? If they are a plastic/foil/paper combination, they are not recyclable. I have emailed many well known tea companies asking if their envelopes are recyclable and all the ones that have a paper/foil/plastic wrapping aren’t recyclable (STASH, GOOD EARTH etc.). If you are a tea person it can add up to A LOT of waste, even if you compost the tea bag. So what is the alternative? Tea bags that come in tins, tea bags in bulk, loose leaf tea in bulk with stainless mesh strainer or an infuser of some sort. Want to help your body and the earth even more? Check out Top 5 Reasons to Choose Organic Tea.
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5) Chewing Gum. This is one thing I did not expect to give up at all when trying to reduce my trash and overall consumption. I am a dental hygienist so I know about sugar-free, anti cavity, saliva producing help, sugar snack craving, brain stimulating (I always chewed gum during tests in college) gum and I flat out loved it. Unfortunately, most chewing gum is made from synthetic plastics, synthetic dyes,  synthetic flavors and they aren’t biodegradable, let along the packaging! To be honest, I don’t have an alternative because I just gave it up at some point along the line. I am sure at local health food stores they have natural mints that come in tins (watch out for sugary ones!).  Check out this blog post from How to Live Zero Waste on the different brands of plastic free chewing gum. The graphic below is a useful learning tool as well. Is Europe more advanced environmentally than the US? I went to Greece and it didn’t seem like it, might be my research question of the week more like day, actually right now.

Click to Enlarge Image

Not-So-Green Gum: Is Chewing Sustainably a Reality?Not-So-Green Gum: Is Chewing Sustainably a Reality?
Infographic by CustomMade

As a little bit of a downer, there are also many benefits to losing some of these things. Like ‘they’ say, “When one door closes, another door opens”. I like the challenge of finding natural alternatives. It accumulates less trash, less STUFF, less shopping, less consumerism, less materialism, less superficial-ism. Sometimes it seems like there is no point, “my trash wont make an impact, or other people still wont care about their trash”. Yes, this is all probably true. BUT The point is to spread the word by how you live, even if it seems to take a long time or to be useless. You have to communicate to companies why you aren’t participating in their product (cough Trader Joes and ALL THEIR PLASTIC) and support/spend your money on good products and companies that make it a priority to care for the earth.

Q: “What do I do with all my current nail polish, food coloring, chewing gum, bagged popcorn and tea.”
A: YOU USE IT. As annoying and frustrating as it is when trying to go zero waste. You slow down, take a deep breath. You’re making a move in the right direction so you enjoy it, grieve what will come when you’re done and let it go slowly. You learn and make better decisions in the future.
Today is Palm Sunday, we celebrate and remember Jesus coming to Jerusalem.
“They took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord.”

Source: John 12:13

The Easiest Way to Reduce Your Trash

Literally, just don’t buy packaged produce.

A simple instruction:

reduce your trash


A complex question:

Why are we here?

Easiest Way to Reduce Your Trash by asking the Hardest Question. Who am I?

An easy, simple, straight forward, tangible act of switching a food shopping habit that can tremendously decrease your trash. Buy free floating produce or in other words don’t buy produce in plastic. Just say no to this tiny wasteful luxury  of convenience we call a plastic bag. Next step. Buy more fresh produce, therefore less processed packaged foods. Which (in my humble opinion) equals healthier and simpler lives. But…why should we care? What does this have to do with who I am? Well that’s something us humans will always be searching for. Our purpose. I’ve learned a thing or two over the past few months (I’m not an expert, far from it actually), but it starts with something like this…

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What is our purpose big and small? What is YOUR calling?

Well I urge you to dive right into your soul to search it out. Don’t worry because Jesus is there right beside you rooting you on. We all have an incredible amount of potential, if only we go against what society tells us and let it loose. Is it a treacherous adventure? You bet! But also well worth it.In my short life, I have always had this underlying urge to care for the earth, physically and emotionally as well. I literally care about it and I want to take care of it. Makes sense? So here I am writing a blog and hopefully starting a chain of events in my life that aide in the cry out for change for our now and future home, planet earth. I am not saying that every human should find a career in caring for the earth, heck I don’t even do that right now (I’m a dental hygienist for Heavens sake-see what I did there?-but really.), but I do think that every human should care. And reducing your trash is one way to start. Join the movement with me, caring for the earth and finding a heavenly vocation. Where do you start? Well, to name a few: guidance from Jesus, the scriptures, various identity podcasts, professors, counselors, friends, family, books and more! I would like to give thanks to and also highly recommend the book Garden City by John Mark Comer and to Van City Church’s series on Identity and Calling at Vancity.church/teaching  specifically the teaching on Genesis 1v26-28 

How did the conversation about trash turn into an identity? That’s my brain in a nutshell! Clear as mud? Thought so. Cya next time Vancouverites. Thrillseekers. blog searchers, internet surfers.

I seem to always try to pitch an Anchorman worthy send off..picture me winking and giving the side body finger point as I say it..one will catch on one of these days…