Garbage and related stuff

I like my house.  There are things that need improving and things I’d change if I could, but I like it.  I just wish the yard was smaller.  I mowed 7/8 of it this morning but couldn’t finish because I would have given myself heat stroke.  Gotta love summer in Florida.

The compost bin is almost full now, mostly with grass clippings.  I need more variety but that’s not going to happen until I can start growing more things.  It should be getting nice and hot in there now; it’s been about 90 degrees daily for the last month or so.  It probably needs to be watered again, too.  Only half of the clippings from a mow go in the bin; the other half has too many weeds and there would be way too many grass clippings as compared to everything else.  The other half, for now, I’m piling up in the corner of the back yard, hoping for some composting action from that pile too.  It will only take another mow or two, though, and that one will be maxed out.

Today’s grass clippings were topped off with enough dog hair to outfit a Chihuahua.  I don’t have a Chihuahua; my dog, like my yard, is oversized.  He’s a 98 pound yellow Lab.  He sheds a little all the time, but twice a year he does something called “blowing the undercoat” which produces enough dog hair to make sweaters for the neighborhood.  I toss a couple of handfuls of fur in the bin every day, and today after sweeping I had the aforementioned Chihuahua-sized amount.  If compost likes dog hair, I’m going to have the happiest compost in town.

On a compost-related note, I finished reading Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte.  She set off to determine where all of her household waste went (she lives in Brooklyn), with mixed success.  The biggest message of the book for me, though was that household waste only makes up 2% of the waste produced in the U.S.  The rest is manufacturing waste.  Recycling and composting are good and we shouldn’t stop, but the only way to really reduce the amount of garbage is either for the manufacturers to start making and packaging things very differently, or for us to stop buying so much stuff.  Neither of those seems likely.

I did take a trip out to our local landfill this week, with a load of old paint and other chemicals that I won’t use again.  The ladies out there are really helpful and cooperative.  The one at the household waste collection point said they give away what they can, and they have a paint exchange program, where if you see a color you like you can take it, no charge.  The only other area that the public sees out there is the yard waste and wooden pallet collection point.  I don’t know if they’re composting yard waste and wood or not.  There is also one topped-off hill of landfill, covered in beautiful green grass, with the methane collection pipes sticking out every so often.

I didn’t get close enough to look, but I bet it’s not St. Augustine grass.


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