Food comprises about 17% of NYC's waste stream. When this material is sent to a landfill it contributes to NYCs disposal costs and creates greenhouse gas emissions. Composting is easier than you think. Grow NYC has made free composting available at all of their markets or you can ask your community garden if they have a composing program, most of them do!
Here are some things to keep in mind to help you get started with your new composting habits:
If you are worried about having flies, then keep your compostable materials in the freezer so it stays fresh and out of the way. There are also compost garbage cans, Full Circle Home is a great company to buy them from.
NO meat, chicken, fish, greasy food scraps, fat, oil, dairy, animal waste, litter or bedding, coal or charcoal, coconuts (coconut shells are ok), diseased and/or insect-infested houseplants/soil or biodegradable/compostable plastics
If you have compostable boxes, rip them into little pieces otherwise they won't get used as compost.
Sticks or dry plants go in a different container, ask the person in charge where to put it.
STICK TO GLASS
500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the United States alone and a lot of this goes straight into the sea. Go straw-less or just carry your own stainless steel straw.
Also be sure to carry your own tote bag at all times. We are addicted to plastics and they are one of the biggest attributors to climate change, ocean pollution and the bleaching of corals.
Shop at a store where they sell by bulk. A lot of stores will let you bring your own glass jar and buy bulk; this reduces the amount of plastic bags you end up with at the end of your shopping experience.
Say no to bottled water. The fact is that bottle water is as bad or worse than tap water; tap water is continuously monitored and treated according to federal standards so a filtering system will make a perfect water combo. Many bottled waters contain toxins, even if they've nixed BPA, plus if they are exposed to heat there are other chemicals we are allowing to leach into our bodies.
RIDE YOUR BIKE OR JUST WALK TO WORK
Transportation is the number one greenhouse polluter. Mother earth will be happy and you will be burning some extra calories. Riding a bike has also been linked to improved mental health and overall wellbeing. Double winner!
Writen by Vanessa Upegui
Photograph by Megan Martin