By Mary Pat Baldauf
Every May, Richland County hosts a Richland Recycles Education Day at the State Fairgrounds. Local environmental groups devise a short lesson and staff a table, which groups of invited students visit to learn more. In years past, I’ve led my own lesson, but limited now by the volume of my voice, I instead offered to assist as needed as a volunteer. I was assigned to the Atlas Organics booth, where I learned more about composting and was even motivated to start an office vermi-composting bin.
I started composting at home about six years ago when I transitioned to a more plant-based way of eating. Using more veggies and fruits led to fruit flies in my house, and when I complained about it, one of my sustainability sidekicks recommended that I get it out of the trash via a compost bin. I’m what they call a lazy composter; I just toss my food scraps in the bin and add browns every so often, but I rarely turn it or add water. And neither of my bins are in the sun, so I don’t monitor the temperature either. According to Atlas educator Leslie Rodgers, that’s okay. I’m probably missing out on some great soil amendment material, but I’m diverting my food waste, and that is a good thing.
For the event, Leslie brought a mini vermi-composting bin to explain the compost process to students. I was quite taken with the process and decided to make my own. I once tried to compost at work, but it created some issues with fruit flies and bugs. I wasn’t actually composting, but saving my fruit scraps to take to my home compost bin, thus the problem.
By the end of the day, I left with a new appreciation for composting as well as a scoop of red wiggler worms to start my own. I put them in a coffee tumbler and kept them inside until I could get them home. Three days later, the worms are still in the container on my night stand. I have good intentions to start a bin, but until I do, I’ll keep them moist and fed.
(To Be Continued)