I began telling the story of my eco-transformation by recording some thoughts about my experiences this past year -- the audio of which I just released on my iTunes podcast channel: The Eco-Transformation of a Coach. This is Part 1 of my story -- composting made easy.
My transformation from a focus on personal wellness to a greater awareness around Sustainability of the planet and Green Living began (now) about nine months ago when I met Tim. We started to have conversations (OK, sometimes heated discussions) about why wasn't it OK for me to just throw certain plastic wrappers in the garbage. Or, he would come behind me and take them out of my garbage. This created tension and conflict on a personal level. There were a few things going on, two of which I believe are relevant to my transformation.
- The first was a level of tension within my personal relationship, that led me to often think: “Why isn't he respecting my space, my point of view?”
- The second aspect was me not seeing the larger potential problem of discarding certain plastics into the garbage.
Tim started helping me too, though; collecting food scraps from our meals together and putting them into old plastic containers from Chinese delivery meals, or in other hard plastic containers that I had in the apartment, and storing them in the refrigerator. I thought this was interesting, not really having thought about saving my food scraps before, not really being aware of what composting was nor what the benefits of composting could be. But, in essence, it became pretty easy for me over time to just put food scraps into the containers. I just got used to doing it; I would put in my banana peel, my tea bags, his coffee grinds, our leftover food – all of it would go into the containers. Around that time, I was co-working out of Impact Hub NYC, and I noticed that they too had a large plastic bucket there labeled for composting, so I began to do the same thing there. It just became a habit to compost my tea bags and my banana peels and my leftover food scraps.
An interesting project idea developed from my home composting. I live in Brooklyn; Tim lives in Jersey City. Initially unbeknownst to me, he was taking the composting containers when they were full with our scraps and bringing them back to Jersey City to compost them in the garden at the back of his house. It was several weeks before I started to notice what he was doing. For a long time, composting was just really easy; I’d put the scraps in the plastic containers and the composting containers “magically” disappeared and then reappeared empty. It was composting made easy for me, which actually led to our business idea of CompostIFY. The “IFY” stands for “it for you;” meaning “We compost it for you.” We started to do some research around other cities that were creating either nonprofits or social enterprises to pick up compost scraps from local residents and businesses. We've explored the CompostIFY idea to some degree; I have pitched the concept at a few Green startup events.
When I became consciously aware that Tim was taking away the composting containers, it became of interest to me to figure out: “Is there another way that I can compost?” I decided to research my alternatives and found out I could bring my compost scraps to the Greenmarket. That comes back to the personal aspect of my transformation: the personal relationship was what started me on this journey of eco-transformation and foraging for wellness, or foraging for greater sustainability, actually. I began to look at Tim's actions in a different way that was less about him "making me wrong," and more about his passion for reducing waste, reducing consumption, and improving sustainability of the planet.
That was the first pivotal shift in my eco-transformation: recognizing that I could let go of my story around his not respecting my personal space or not respecting my personal boundaries, and open up to think about it from a wider perspective – from a collective wellness perspective, in some ways, and definitely from an environmental perspective of protecting and saving the planet. When I made that shift it created a whole new level of interest for me around composting, and I was motivated to research alternatives to compost my own food scraps. That's when I discovered the Greenmarket and learned that NYC Organics has composting bins at many local Greenmarkets. That's when I realized that I could continue the process of collecting my own food scraps, storing them in the refrigerator, and then once or twice a week bring those containers to the Greenmarket myself and dump our food scraps into their larger bins. I also learned that the food scraps are delivered to local composting organizations and community gardens dedicated to greening New York City.
I've been (consciously) composting at the Greenmarket ever since.