For me the desire to reduce my waste started with composting. There were signs in most of our neighbors’ yards when we moved to Durham, North Carolina about a curbside composting service called Compost Now! I had hardly heard of composting before moving, but it was very much the thing to do in Durham. I immediately ordered a trial subscription to see how we liked it. We ordered one bin and felt shocked yet satisfied at all that was going into the compost bin.


Our spoiled leftovers, paper towels, pizza boxes and so much more would turn into a rich, soil-like substance that we could keep or donate to a local garden. I loved knowing exactly where our waste was going, especially after I learned that food and yard waste makes up 30% of what we throw away and that when food waste decomposes in landfills it releases methane gas which is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Since September, we have diverted 250 pounds of food waste from going into landfills!

For us, composting was so easy. We collected all of our food waste into airtight compost bins that we kept in a low, easy to access cabinet. Some people keep theirs in the freezer to reduce the smell but besides when we open it to add more food, the smell is pretty contained within the compost bins. Our collection day is on Tuesday, so we just put the bin outside on the curb like trash pickup and they replace our bin with new empty ones for the week. After we started, I was amazed how much less trash we had and then shocked at how much of it was non recyclable plastic. That was when I got inspired to try going plastic free.

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Don’t have a local curbside compost? Check if your local farmers market will take food scraps for compost. Otherwise, the EPA has a helpful post about backyard and indoor composting.