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Waste Not, Want Not

By Judy Wolfram


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Well, here it is garden peak time, and everybody is picking, weeding, sweating, peeling, canning, sweating, freezing and cooking. Did I mention sweating? I can help you with the weeds, peels, and other garden scraps. The sweating is up to you to handle.

We are going to compost. To start small, I have it on good authority (thanks Lisa L.) that you can use one of two (if you like) plastic garbage cans with snap-on-tight lids. Start with chopped up leaves and add a little water. You can add weeds with the flowering parts and the roots cut off. The next layer can be chipped or shredded wood or fresh green grass clippings. You can also add fruit and vegetable remains, eggs shells, coffee grounds, coffee filters (used or dry), and shredded paper products such as news-papers, paper plates, paper napkins, paper towels and tubes, and tea bags.

The compost has to be mixed often. This is where the garbage can comes in handy. Since the lid fits tight, you can just roll the can back and forth about five or six times. Compost also has to be kept moist. It should feel like a wrung-out sponge. If you squeeze it and it isn’t damp enough, just add a small amount of water.

Never, ever compost meat scraps, bones, fish scraps, dairy products, peanut butter, cooking oil, diseased vegetation, household animal pet waste, animal fats, plywood, pressure-treated wood, plastic or synthetic fibers.

Now you can recycle your compost no-no’s. Meat scraps, large bones and fat trimmed from meat can be kept in the refrigerator and fed to your dogs. If you don’t have a dog, give the scraps to a friend or neighbor for their dog. Fish scraps, chicken skin, and chicken bones can go to your cat or a neighbor’s cat. Maybe a stray cat would like a meal of left-overs.

Dairy products are good for you and your bones. I can’t imagine anyone throwing them out at all. Peanut butter. I love peanut butter. I clean out the jar with a spoon or a knife. The clean jar, minus the lid, goes to recycling or to our garage to be filled with nuts, bolts or screws. Cooking oil can go in a glass jar with a tight lid and put into your trash. You can also tightly bag household pet waste and diseased plant materials and trash them.

Pressure-treated wood can be used for all kinds of projects around the house and yard. Plywood in small pieces can be burned in a wood stove or wood furnace. Never burn treated wood inside as it gives off toxic fumes. Plastic can be recycled if it is “Pet,” “Pete” or “Hope.”

If the rumor I hear about a $3 raise for trash pick-up service located outside our county is true, I just gave you a way to save some money. Recycling and composting are good ways to save; plus, you have some great composting material to add to your vegetable and flower gardens.

(Judy Wolfram is chairman of Calhoun County Solid Waste Authority, which oversees Cabot Recycling. Cabot is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for recycling drop-offs. Those who would like to be paid for non-ferrous metals and aluminum cans need to visit Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.)

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