Nope, the article is not about wasting time even though I believe there is an art in doing it. Let’s talk about when we’re all in our pjs with a [please insert favourite drink here] in our hand.
For now I just want to share something: as you maybe know we moved from Berlin, Germany to Melbourne, Australia about three months ago (a quarter year – crazy!). The first 45 days were …weird. But somehow we figured it out (or still trying to but the weirdness is fading slowly). Distance – that was what we needed – so we did what Mama told us (bought a car and): we went on a road trip (stay tuned, more on this will come). But as soon as we got home to our apartment, getting back to normal all day stuff I realised something: besides all the lovely things this city and country has to offer (breathtaking nature, fluffy animals, sun most of the year – the latter is more right for the country not so much for the city) they have a SHITTY recycling system. I know a lot of build-up for waste.
But coming from a country where foreigners smile at you because you have five bins at home recycling right was something I grew up with. Maybe even more so because I enjoyed a happy childhood with a huge garden. That means I watched my parents use food scraps from the kitchen for the compost in the garden since I could …well watch them.
We used the wood from our own felled garden trees for chimney and garden fires. We used rain water to water the garden. We had a bin for everything paper and cardboard, one for all waste “yellow” (basically everything plastic you can recycle and that has a special recycle sign on it), another one for “normal” waste. We collected our plastic bottles, cans and glass bottles and brought them back to the store (and got money back because almost every can and bottle has a deposit on it) and we brought special waste (like electronics, mattresses etc.) to a special waste dump.
Even later in my own apartment it was that easy because all the apartment buildings I lived in had these separated bins (yes, even one for bio waste). When something is normal for you, it becomes automatic and it’s not hard to do. Recycling is like that for me: easy. And it’s something small we can do that’s generating a big impact in the long run. Actually no waste at all would be the real deal. Here is a first step to that: composting your kitchen food scraps.
We don’t have a garden like my parents BUT we have a balcony. So I watched Youtube tutorials and read articles from India to the US about how to compost when you live in an apartment. Here’s what I did:
1. You need two buckets (and a lit) that fit into each other. One is your compost container, the second one is for drainage.
2. Mine have holes at the bottom, so I just used some tape to seal the drainage bucket.
3. Then I used a knife to put quite a few holes into the compost bucket (for oxygen). If you have a drill even better!
4. Now put some cardboard and paper shavings (non-coated!) in there (just use what you have).
5. Add some old brown leaves (like cardboard they bring carbon to the party) – luckily there is an Eucalyptus tree right in front of our balcony, which means there are leaves all over our balcony. And the best thing is our compost smells like a bath ball <3.
6. Alright, now it’s time to get feelings for your peelings: add all your collected food scraps (hello nitrogen!). If you add eggshells make sure you crush them so they will get composted easier. Be careful with banana peels and citrus rinds because they may contain pesticide residue (if you’re not sure leave them out of the compost).
7. Good, we’re almost done: still have the coffee ground or your tea bags from this morning? Great. Throw it in there (more nitro). If there is still a bit water left, don’t be shy. It gives our mix of compost joy a bit of moisture. Just don’t turn it into a pool.
8. The final addition: some soil. Steal it from your neighbours, parents, your bourgeois friends who already live in a house because we need the little helping hands (or whatever “equivalent” they have) from the micro-organisms. THROW IT IN THERE.
9. The most fun and last step: mix it. If you’re a pussy use a stick or something otherwise mix this glory of brown and green divineness WITH YOUR BEAR HANDS!
That’s it. I have no idea if it’s going to work but I’ll keep you updated. If you are so crazy to try this out let me know how it goes. Seriously, I’d love to hear and see it (send me your comPOST via email or facebook – ha, my dad could have said that…).