Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I hate composting, and other things guilt makes me do

I like the idea of composting. I hate the reality. The flies, making my way through brush to the one spot on our property line between a fence and our garage where we could put it. (The photo shows my crock in the foreground and the composter in the background.) I've dropped my keys in the mess (on the way to a workshop,) I've had slimy crocks on my counter that I feel bad about for not taking out more regularly, and now I have too much "green" to "brown" yard waste and it's icky. Where to get dry yard waste? It's a major hassle, but I still do it. Same with recycling. Our kitchen is so small that the paper and container recycling takes up major space, but I still do it. Washing and re-using plastic bags is another.

Note, I have recently started collecting green scraps in a big bowl which I am more likely to take out regularly and is less gross to clean.

Things I wanted to do because I thought I "should" but couldn't make it happen:
cloth diapers
home-made organic baby food
more public transportation

I also covet a mini-van even though we only have one child. Maybe someday. Not very ecological....

What things do you do because of guilt, because you "should," but that aren't very satisfying on their own?


  1. I recycle, but we keep just one paper bag in the kitchen and bring it in the bin in the garage when it's full.
    I love the idea of composting, too. Do you know that you can use paper as "brown" or dry in your compost ? That's a way to minimize your recycling volume, too ;-). I try to buy in bulk as often as I can, to lower the number of plastic or paper containers, too.

  2. Composting is not so bad, now that we're in a routine with it. Helps to have a child old enough to do compost duty, honestly. We always have too much green to brown ratio too, except in the fall when the leaves fall. We save them but they don't last the year.

    You can use some of your scrap paper, after you've put it through your shredder, to boost the brown content a bit more, or so I hear. Or get some straw to keep on hand. Or try worm composting if you just have waaaay more green than brown to deal with.

    My guilt is not doing cloth diapers. We tried it years ago with our first, and I hated it. Too much work, too messy, too smelly, and I hate laundry anyhow. However, I have to say, cloth diapering has come a loooong way since then and with the new velcro covers and systems, is WAY more do-able now. If I had a baby now, I'd definitely give it a try.

    However, I try to let guilty feelings over these things go. We're always going to fall short somewhere. We can acknowledge that we could have done better without being defensive about it, let that guilt go, and then move on without torturing ourselves. We have enough parenting guilt already; we don't have to torture ourselves over not being perfect at everything.

  3. I was also going to suggest adding paper to your compost! I did the cloth diapering for the first year, but convenience won and now we've been doing disposables for the second year and I do have guilt about it once in awhile.

    I secretly want a mini van, too!

  4. Down with guilt! Rock out with what works for you and your family. "Shoulds" are poison! ;)

  5. A gardening program I saw recommended having a bag of tea tree mulch (or something similar) next to the compost bin, so everytime you put in some green you can whack some mulchy brown in there.

  6. THanks for the ideas. I like the thought of shredding some newspaper and adding that...

  7. How about adding some red wiggler worms and allowing them to speed up the process?
    Cardboard (pizza boxes, shipping boxes), dryer lint and shredded paper are excellent brown sources.
    My guilts: not making my own laundry soap AND eating out too much.
    BigTex Worms

  8. This post made me laugh! I could take a similar pictures of my compost pail and outdoor composter and have the same issues with flies and the brown to green ratio.

    And I tried the new cloth diapers with velcro covers and hated it! They are so bulky my poor infant couldn't move her legs. We switched back to paper diapers and never looked back

    But the minivan--ah, the minivan. How we love our minivan. Yes, the gas mileage isn't that great but it's better than my work truck. And we don't have a huge commute so it really only gets driven long distances when we are hauling a bunch of people around (which is why we bought it, so we could go placed with my brother and his family) or camping.

    That said, my next car (to replace my truck) is definitely going to be electric or at least a hybrid.