When the Concord Monitor stopped its recycling service a while back, I started collecting plastic/glass/tin in the newsroom and taking it to my town dump. I make a weekly dump run anyway and had room for more recyclables, so it’s no big deal.

I also collect my own food remnants (banana skins, apple cores) plus the office coffee grounds and take them home for the compost pile, because composting is fun. However, I don’t try to collect other people’s food waste because it’s too messy and complicated – smell, fruit flies, mice, etc.

That’s typical: Composting isn’t too hard, but collecting the stuff to be composted is.

In the Upper Valley, a woman has started a business collecting compostable materials from homes, as reported by the radio show Marketplace. She’s among a number of community composting-pickup business that are being started around the country.

There’s more of an incentive west of the Connecticut River: Vermont has the nation’s most stringent mandatory-composting laws, which increases the incentive to create commercial-sized composting areas that can take the waste.

An addendum: What if you had to hand-compost your visitors’ poop? The Appalachian Mountain Club does (video here).


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