Can You Compost?

Photo by Dattodesign on Flickr

Photo by Dattodesign on Flickr

Have you ever wanted to compost your food scraps but felt limited by the size of your home or lack of local resources?If you live in Washington, DC you have options like Compost Cab or Fat Worm. If you live in Maryland, your options for residential composting largely depend on what you can do at your home.

Some folks like vermicomposting, which uses Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetida) or Red Earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) to break down food into fertilizer. Vermicomposting kits come small enough to set up in your home, and Treehugger details several options available for urban composters.

However, if worm composting won’t work for you and you don’t have the space to have an outside bin, you are at the mercy of the service range for metro DC composting companies. And the services require a $ub$cription, to haul away your organic waste. It’s all for the greater good, so many people do not hesitate to pay if they cannot compost at their residence. But if you live in an area outside of service range, if you do not have a backyard, and if you have a small apartment, your organic waste goes into a landfill.

One of the challenges is availability of facilities. The Maryland Department of Environment has shut down Maryland facilities, and new restrictions and regulations have stalled openings of additional sites in the region; the closest facility to the Maryland and DC region is in Delaware. However, demand for commercial and residential composting continues to rise, so Howard County, Maryland began a pilot compost program fall 2012. Details about the small scale effort serving Elkridge and Ellicott City, MD can be found on their public works page.

Perhaps someday we will have a city-wide weekly compost pickup like Portland. For now, I look forward to the day when I can either compost at my residence or send my organic waste to a composting facility.

Do you compost at home? How does your city handle composting?

Carolyn is a graduate from JHU’s AAP ESP program. She’s passionate about sustainability, good food and getting outside.

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