- When did you start composting and why?
[I started composting] a little over a year ago. [My wife and I] do not like throwing organic food waste into the landfill. It’s mostly just my wife and me at home these days, so we do not generate too much food waste. [However,] every bit kept out of the trash reduces pressure on our landfills.
- What is the process of composting?
All raw vegetable and fruit scraps are placed in a small bucket we keep in our kitchen. Leftover boiled or steamed vegetable matter can also go into the bucket as can rinsed eggshells. No proteins, fats, oils, or citrus peels should be composted. We use compostable bags in the bucket. Every Saturday, a member from Compost Culture empties and takes away our compost.
- What are some other things you do to stay sustainable? Please explain them.
We have mostly native plants and trees in our small yard. What little grass we do have is [of] the Saint Augustine variety and rarely gets watered. We use compostable or paper garbage bags. We filter our water and use refillable water bottles instead of disposable plastic bottles. I try to save my money and buy a few better-quality clothing items that last for years instead of frequently purchasing bargain clothes that wear out quickly and end up in the landfill. This saves resources and is probably less costly in the long run. During the summer, we mostly use ceiling fans and a whole house fan instead of air conditioning in order to reduce electricity use. I try to buy organic foods without a lot of packaging. Organic farming typically puts fewer contaminants into the soil and water table. However, this can be difficult because organic foods are often more expensive than non-organic and many items are over packaged. We have reduced our meat consumption over the years, especially beef and pork. Cattle and pork production results in a sizable amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane. Cattle and pork farms also often pollute surrounding land and water. Overconsumption of fatty meats also contributes to heart disease, cancer, and other health conditions. We keep our cars for a long time instead of buying new ones every few years. This is also true of most appliances and other products we buy. Keeping and using cars, appliances, and other items for many years reduces resource consumption and saves us money. When we did need a new car in 2010, my wife bought a small hybrid. I hope to purchase an all-electric truck once I finally have to replace my 2006 Toyota. There’s plenty more we and nearly everyone can do.
- What is something that you think students can start to become more sustainable at home?
Use metal refillable water bottles and stop spending money on water packaged in plastic.
- Is there anything else you want to try to help the environment? It can be related to your family or the club.
It would be fantastic if the club could help convince Alhambra Unified to reimagine school landscaping throughout our district. Our campuses could be transformed into areas where native plant and insect species thrive. At the same time, we could significantly reduce our water consumption and cut way back on the need to use noisy, polluting gas-powered mowers and blowers.