Volunteering: Institutional Composting

June 27, 2022 by Joshua
in Nature

I volunteer with Chelsea Community Fridge, which delivers food that stores were going to throw away to a center where anyone can pick it up. It has a compost bin. As best I can tell, most volunteers and guests don’t know what composting does. They constantly put non-compostable things in the compost and compostable things in the trash.

As a result, I volunteer to bring the full container a couple avenue blocks to the municipal food scrap collection in Union Square. I’m trying to get others on board with participating more. I’m also trying to lead volunteers to avoid using unnecessary plastic, but they hold on to their misconceptions that plastic makes the world better tightly.

Here are pictures of my latest haul. Prepare yourself for some glorious, disgusting pictures of slop, including maggots. Note that maggots and the smell are still healthier and safer than plastic, which doesn’t break down for centuries and makes its way into our bloodstreams.

The scraps before hauling them off

This is a couple months of scraps. The little rice-looking things on the walls of the bin are maggots. There was slight smell, but not too bad.

Dumping the scraps

This picture is from a previous time I dumped the scraps. Today was raining. That time I asked someone to take pictures unlike this time.

After dumping the scraps in the municipal bin

What was on the bottom is now on top. These scraps look like they’ve been digested. They smell that way too, vaguely like diarrhea. A guy walking by helped me pick up the bin to dump it, since it weighed about fifty pounds.

The empty bin

Satisfying to see, even though the maggots remain.

Our bin, back home.

Ready to collect more scraps.

My compost at home accumulates much slower. I would take a year or more to accumulate how much the bin contained, so when I bring my own compost, it doesn’t smell or have bugs. I only bring it to the collection bins around monthly.

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