Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Compost Recipe for Roosevelt Island and NYC Apartment Dwellers: Food Scraps+Shredded Newspapers+Water+Red Wriggler Worms=Street Trees

An environmentally conscious Roosevelt Island resident sends in this idea:

i wonder if anyone else thinks about collecting kitchen scraps to compost? I have tried this but it means schlepping garbage on the subway or tram to the greenmarket in Union Square, where there is a collection stand several days a week. The people who collect there give the scraps to people who process, then use the resulting compost to fertilize farm soil

Benefits are less garbage in landfills and constructive use of our waste - and a chance to step out of our collective throw-away mentality without much effort. It isn't hard to save kitchen scraps (only those without fats - like potato peels, coffee grounds, eggshells...) what is hard is getting them to someone who can make use of them. I know there are industries who collect scraps - I wonder if there would be enough interest to get them to come here and pick up our collective contribution of kitchen scraps?

Inuit and other pre-industrial people traditionally gave the bones of then animals they consumed back to the earth/sea as a way of appreciating the gift of their nourishment.
If the idea of composting your scraps using the worm recipe in your apartment is less than appealing, perhaps an arrangement can be made with the operators of the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market to collect material for composting.

For more information on composting visit the New York City Compost Project and the Lower East Side Ecology Center.

Also, while on the topic of garbage, Roosevelt Island's uses a unique pneumatic garbage collection system. From NYU's Portfolio reprinting an article from The New Yorker:
The A-Vac, on Roosevelt Island, is New York’s only pneumatic garbage collection system. Designed in the late sixties to accompany the island’s Mitchell Lama housing developments, the system works like this:18-inch-wide pipes run under all the high-rises on Roosevelt Island. When people throw their waste down the building’s chutes, it piles up for several hours, until a trap door opens, sucking the garbage into a pipe. While air is blown out one end, valves on the other open to allow the intake of air at selective points. This creates a pressure differential that propels the garbage through the underground pipes at speeds of up to 60 miles an hour.

When the garbage resurfaces, it is at the A-Vac center, a squat three-story building at the island’s north tip. The pipes climb to the building’s ceiling, and dump the trash into two upside down silo shaped cyclones, which spin and then slide it down chutes into container bins. The whole vacuum process takes 10-15 minutes.

You Tube video link is here.


RI 360 said...

During the non-Winter months we bring our biodegradable fruit andvergetrable scraps to the RI Garden Club. They do not want any paper, meat, or fish scraps. Contact Ron from the club to see what can be done or if there is a need during the Winter months.