In Oakland, CA (my hometown), everyone composts. It is not an activity that is restricted to the hippies and the tree huggers; everyone composts. While this may be because everyone in Oakland is in fact a hippie or a tree hugger, it was quite jarring coming to Columbia and finding that compost was extremely limited if not absent in most cases. Partially because I was looking for something to do and partially because I was missing home a little, I set out to find myself a compost bin. And boy, it didn’t disappoint.
Located on Broadway between 116th and 115th, there is an NYC Grow compost booth that is part of the Greenmarket that is held every Thursday and Sunday from 8am to 1pm (3pm on Sundays). I went down to this booth looking for some more information about composting in the city generally and how I, as a student, could start to compost. It turns out that this compost booth is crazy easy to use.
Step 1) collect your food scrapes in some sort of container.
Because I often eat at dining halls, I don’t end up generating that much food waste over the course of a week, so I use a large yogurt container with a lid.
Step 2) freeze or refrigerate your compost.
Luckily, I have a mini fridge in my room, so this worked out great. However, if you don’t have a refrigerator or a freezer, start asking around – maybe a friend has one and would be happy to share. This would also be a great way to get more people involved in composting.
Step 3) bring the scrapes to the compost booth and dump them off in one of the green bins.
This is one of the most enjoyable steps because the man who runs the booth is exceedingly pleasant and the other composters are interesting as well.
Composting may seem like a big hassle, but this compost booth makes it a feasible (and hassle free) option for Columbia students. If you’re looking for other greenmarkets that have compost booths in the city or what exactly is compostable, check out http://www.grownyc.org/compost.