In honor of the upcoming Fringe Enviro-themed issue, I'm discussing a simple luxury San Franciscans tend to take for granted. The little green bin...
The little green bin is one of my favorite things about SF, but it's so trashy. Literally. Citywide (bay area wide, more specifically) composting allows businesses and residents the chance to turn any food scraps, paper food packaging, and compostable to-go ware into...wine.
Green bins are provided by the city, and set out on the curb along with trash pickup. Restaurants usually have an equal number of compost and trash bins. It's in the restaurant industry that you can really see the impact composting has on waste disposal. At the end of a busy shift, the compost bins are jammed full, while the trash...maybe halfway, and that usually just plastic wrap.
The yard trimmings and unwanted leftovers of San Franciscans get turned into compost, which is used in the vineyards of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. While the thought brings a slight shift in meaning to the concept of terroir, the actual practice of composting couldn't be easier.
While composting isn't always perfect...and often kinda gross...it's one way to make a consistent contribution to living a green lifestyle and turning your own waste into something positive. If you're interested in composting but don't have a citywide program, check in with local community gardens. There are plenty of those in Boston, and most tend to have a compost pile that members contribute to. Or start your own compost pile in the backyard, and grow some food!
I will admit, we have a black composter in my yard, but 90% of the time I use the city's green bin (yes, because it's closer to the house). If you're interested in learning the hows of home composting, the New York City compost project has pretty comprehensive information on getting started.