Black Ecologie Vol III: compost the rich
hell is a poorly-managed compost bin
Trash — what it is and where it goes — has always fascinated me. When I say ‘trash,’ I don’t mean the second season of The Wire, I mean literal garbage.
We New Englanders take our composting seriously. While interning at a major tea company in the region years ago, customers bemoaned the fact that our teabags — which included a staple to connect the string with the teabag — weren’t fully compostable.
Composting is a great way to recycle food scraps and other organic waste at home. But, I have to say, I don’t enjoy it. I once forgot to empty my indoor compost bin before leaving on a two week-long trip.
By the time I returned, fruit flies had invaded the bin and coated the interior with eggs and larvae. It made me want to gouge my eyes out. Or worse, rewatch Uncut Gems. I had to throw the whole bin away, and take a long shower hoping to forget what I saw.
Months ago, I had the pleasure of using a compost toilet for the first time. It looked like a regular toilet, except instead of a water-filled bowl, the waste fell directly into a large container underneath, just out of sight. With the help of some sawdust and naturally-occurring bacteria, the system turned human waste into a nutrient rich additive for soil. Much like outdoor compost.
I was surprised how much I missed the familiar “splunk” sound of my waste hitting the toilet water. (Can you tell I’m a ‘3’ on the Bristol Stool Chart?). It felt like squatting over a portal to nothingness, and when I peered into the toilet — and the mound of waste deep below — I swear something stared back.
On those high fiber days, nothing makes me happier than a toilet you can firmly flush. But I’d gladly use a compost toilet again.
I recently toured the warehouse of a local door-to-door compost company, hoping to get more excited about home composting. Local composting businesses are cropping up around the city, but this company has a competitive advantage:
“When you leave your compost bucket outside for us, we collect it and leave you a clean one,” a member of their operations team told me. “Other companies simply take the scraps, and leave you with the dirty bin to deal with.”
Sometimes, being a material gworl means paying a mission-aligned company to deal with your grubby compost bin. We built our sewage and trash systems to send waste as far from
wealthy, white humans as possible. But there’s so much to learn from the things we throw away.
Perusing the piles of food scraps in their warehouse, I learned that most Bostonians don’t know how to properly eat a chicken wing. (If the bone is still intact, you’re doing it wrong .)
Everyone talks about ‘eating the rich,’ but I don’t think they would taste very good. Let’s compost them instead, and turn their worldly possessions into fine soil amendments.
I wrote about the environmental claims surrounding goat meat for Sierra.
Things I’m Shouting About this Week
The latest season of Love Island USA. Here’s a reality dating show idea: contestants have ten days to find a mate for the Amazon Cruise™ ship we’ll be forced to live on when the last ice cap melts.