Post-Christmas Quiet

We waved goodbye to Aunt Mary and Sadie yesterday, and the house is quiet again after the holiday frenzy of visiting and visitors. I have to admit, Christmas was a lot of fun with a toddler around. Laurel still gets excited every time she walks into the living room and sees the Christmas tree with all the lights on it.

Now I'm in that period of post-Christmas bloat, in which you can't help but think about New Year's resolutions. I'm not much for dieting, but I have been thinking a lot about reducing our family's waste. Our garbage production has slowly snuck up over the past year (funny thing about having a baby), and we're buying more disposible products and prepared food than ever before. In the chaos between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we didn't do a very good job of prepping our compost pile for winter, and now it's frozen and I'm throwing away a ton of organic matter.

I've been reading this blog, for a while, but it wasn't until this recent guest post by another blogger that I started to feel a real pull toward reducing plastic or getting our garbage under control a little bit. The guest poster is a regular old mom who ended up changing a lot of her family's habits by collecting their plastic waste and weighing it, the way that Fake Plastic Fish blogger Beth Terry does. But like the guest poster, I've been reluctant to actually take this step because I know it's going to be an embarrassingly large pile.

It really is about taking some small steps, though. If we could remember to take jars over to the co-op, we could eliminate using plastic bags for the bulk foods. If we kept some clean rags handy in the kitchen, maybe I wouldn't reach for so many paper towels. And how much trouble is doing a load of cloth diapers every 2 or 3 days? These are all baby steps and well within our reach.

We plan to compost our Christmas tree and if you live in the City of Pittsburgh, you can do it, too! Here's a link to the City of Pittsburgh Christmas Tree Composting.

I also just bought this book, Worms Eat My Garbage. I think composting with the help of some worms might be just the answer to my winter weather composting problem.

So what are you mulling over the new year? Anybody have some idea of what you want to do in 2011?


Joe said...

Hi Katy,
Last year on the first day back to work after two weeks off at Christmas I heard this on a morning talk show; A guy called in and said he "gets" to go to work today instead of "has" to go to work. I used that approach last year and plan to continue this year. It has made a big difference for me.
Happy New Year,
Uncle Joe

Anonymous said...

To start, just unfreeze your compost bin while the weather is warmer today. Dump your compostable garbage into it while it's cold. You can add newspaper, like your Coop newsletter, and paper towels (without strong chemicals). Don't worry about worms yet. When it gets warmer, you can toss in a little soil. That space next to your garage would be good for a small chicken wire bin. 4x4 would be perfect. Turn your collected garbage from the bin into the soil in a heap and put the chicken wire around it. The worms will come. If you're impatient you can ask your dad to scoop some from his pile and bring them in to you. If you want to be fancy you can get a shipping palette and put it at the base to allow air to circulate. Fork it over occasionally. I'm going to send you that article from C-ville about the woman who accumulated only 2 small bags of garbage in a year. Her compost method was like mine: pick up garbage, walk to compost pile in back yard, drop garbage. Wait. It works. I have great compost. Enough for today. Mary

k said...

The problem is that it's warming up today, but it will be cold, and dark and snowy and at some point in the winter, there will be loads of snow to wade through (very unpleasant to walk to the compost pile) Plus nothing breaks down very well in the cold weather and come spring, there will just be a bunch of non-broken down food garbage.