Tuesday, April 08, 2008
A few weeks ago over a delicious Saint Paddy's Day dinner the Clarion's editorial staff heard a brilliant new suggestion for our Things that need to be invented column. Dinner, rather than the traditional corn beef and cabbage, was an oh so tender Guinness beef stew. The suggestion was collective composting. The stew featured an array of delicious fresh vegetables. Their preparation led to a discussion of organic waste products and the difficulty of composting in the modern American townhouse or apartment.
If you don't have a yard or a place to put the grill, locating a spot for the compost bin is all but impossible. However, why can't America's townhouse and apartment complexes provide a shared composting bin? And if America really wanted to get on top of it, these bins could be hooked into methane digestion systems and generators and used to supplement the power grid at each complex.
We all know the landfill problem in America is massive and getting inexorably worse. Do we want to go the way of Italy, where trash accumulation, and illegal dumping has literally brought down the government? Why put biodegradable refuse into a non-biodegradable, plastic bag, wait for a fossil fuel powered, mileage inefficient, truck to pick it up and haul it miles away? Where it will take twenty years for the bag alone to decompose? (Not to mention, most complexes pay someone to fertilize the shared turf areas and subsequently irrigate them with clean drinking water!! America, could we be any more wasteful??)
It should simply be an environmental mandate that all townhouse, condominium and apartment complexes over four units must provide a public composting bin. Then the only problem would be getting lazy, but eco-conscious Americans to use them.
Not only should there be a mandate on composting, but there should also be some kinda law that would force residential communities to provide all of the other essential recycling bins so that many of us are not just throwing everything away and making the landfills even worse.
Agreed!! Lobby your congressperson to stop subsidizing big oil and corporate farms. Let's invest that dough into a waste not, want not cultural paradigm shift.