All I Want for my Birthday is a Composter... by Gia Machlin, May 27 2010, 2 Comments


Not sure if you've noticed, but the subtitle to this blog is "Confessions of a Reformed Consumer." Well it doesn't get much more reformed than this: just a few years ago I was longing for shoes, handbags, and lots of good STUFF for my birthday. Why a perfect birthday usually included a stop at Saks Fifth Avenue to buy something totally frivolous for myself. A Composter??? Growing up, I used to confuse the words "Compost" and "Compote" - I knew one was a fruity jam and the other was a stinky mess. In fact, I was so careful not to use the wrong word because if I said "compost" it would be like saying "toilet" or "sewer" (not that I didn't already have a huge potty mouth back then, but I didn't want to use this term in the wrong context). My main association with the word "compost" was with the disgusting pile of food garbage my mom would keep in the kitchen and periodically throw out in her vegetable garden as "fertilizer". Yuck.

Boy have I changed my tune. It's not that I don't still find the concept of keeping food scraps around until they decompose repulsive, it's that I find the act of creating unnecessary landfill waste even more repulsive. Plus, food scraps in landfills quickly decompose into Methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide. While some waste facilities capture Methane to convert it back into energy, most do not. According to Zero Waste, Inc. "For every 1 ton of food scraps separated from the trash before it gets to the landfill, the equivalent of 6 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) is prevented from being released into the atmosphere."

Yes, I live in New York City, and I really have no need for fresh soil or fertilizer, and I have absolutely no place to dispense of compost output, but I will find a way. A few months back, I read a review on composters in the Wall Street Journal - of all places. It gave the Nature Mill Indoor Composter a very good rating, especially for an urban environment. (Full disclosure: EcoPlum gets a small referral fee for any sales that result from clicking on the link I just provided). I got very excited about the prospect of being able to know I was doing the right thing with regard to food waste, and still keep my urban kitchen looking chic and smelling great. But the price tag was a bit prohibitive. So, what better time to ask my husband to splurge on this apparatus - MY 46th BIRTHDAY (which is next Wednesday, June 2nd - in case you wanted to know)!

So, Honey, all I want for my birthday is a composter. I promise it won't bring bugs and smells to our apartment, and I will know that I am doing one more thing to reduce landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Don't get me wrong, I will probably still treat myself to a facial or some other pampering activity, but the days of shopping just to shop are over. Who thought I'd ever get there??