Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Gather 'round, it's slop time!

Coming soon to your kitchen counter, a compost pail (cost to you is $.20/month over 5 years, or $12.00) with Lake Oswego "branding" on it.  (I love that word "branding" - it reminds me of a pack of cigarettes that 60s Ad Men are marketing to the public.)  Look for your bucket starting sometime in June.

Our buckets will be just like Portland's
(Uh Oh. Do I see some perfectly good cheese and vegetables in there?)
At this time, no one will be inspecting your trash to see if you are 
complying with the program like they do in Seattle.
The Residential Organics Collection program is Lake Oswego's latest effort to be environmentally conscious at the citizens' expense, while accomplishing very little.  Whether or not you want to recycle your potato peels and chicken bones, the city will charge you more to recycle your food waste in garbage bins you already have, with trucks they already use, on the days they already come.

"The only procedural change for residents would be that they could now add their food scraps, inclusive of meat, dairy, tea bags, coffee grounds and fibrous paper to their existing yard debris bins."  There will also be 11,225 plastic compost pails distributed ($134,700) and additional garbage truck travel to Corvallis.  How many residents do you think will participate in this program now that meat and dairy can be composted, and how many buckets will gather dust or be used to wash cars instead?  What will be the net benefit of the program after negative environmental elements are taken into account?

In the Staff Report for the City Council meeting on March 1, 2016, this program claims to:
  1. Make LO a regional leader, after Portland, in food scrap recycling.  It will elevate our "brand" as a green city.  (At our expense.  Being a regional leader is all about ego, not compost.)
  2. Reduce capacity and efficiency of the garbage trucks because food waste makes up about 50% of garbage by weight.  (If you shift food waste from the gray can to the green can, how does that reduce the amount of food waste going into trucks?  Don't the trucks have to drive further to dump the food scraps?  
  3. Reduce oil and grease in the wastewater system.  (Vegetable scraps don't have much, if any, oil. Composting animal products may help with some fats if enough people eat meat and then compost, but it won't help with cooking oils and fats.)
  4. Lake Oswego can "close the loop" by using the resulting compost in city landscaping.  (It already does.) 
If you are not happy with the design or function of your government-issued compost pail, I assume you still have to pay for it, but there are many other options to make composting fashionable and fun.  Here are a few examples:

This one sounds good - compostable bags and no flies!  

Odor-Free Kitchen Compost Collector.

Air flows around the compostable collection bag so excess moisture evaporates — there’s less mess, less odor and no flies. By reducing moisture build-up, scraps stay drier, minimizing bacterial growth. When the bag is full, toss it — bag and all — into your compost bin. Includes five compostable bags; additional bags sold separately. (Bin requires the use of compostable bags.)

  Any product that has the word "arugula" in it has to be cool!  


Introducing the coolest way to compost. This compost bin is meant to be placed on the countertop, staying clean and stylish while storing leftover food scraps for composting.

This one will match your SS appliances; a good choice if you
store your slop in the refrigerator.

Stainless Steel compost bin

The Endurance® Compost Pail holds several days' worth of vegetable trimmings and food scraps, while 
two charcoal filters in the vented lid ensure an odor-free environment.  Dishwasher safe. 

Have some fun!  This one takes a drill to punch holes in the 
top. You can be creative and use other types of large, lidded containers.  Bonus: Food containers are good for disguising the true function of the compost bucket.  If your container doesn't have built-in handles, a wire coat hanger will work just fine.

Kitchen Compost Bucket
DIY, Easy, Frugal

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