What happens if you want to create lots of compost, but are not producing the waste required to do so?
Then look around the community. This will take more work, but at least there are the benefits of exercise for you and more nutrients in your compost! And you could get to meet a lot of nice people.
Here are some ideas:
- Collect pumpkins after Halloween.
- Ask neighbors if you can have their leaves if you are willing to rake them.
- Collect coffee grounds from neighbors, restaurants, motels, and your workplace. At work, you can place the coffee grounds with the filter in a container or bag in the freezer. This will prevent it from stinking and allow you to collect the grounds less often. At a restaurant or motel, have a certain day of the week that you go and collect some grounds from that day only. That way the employees only have to save grounds from that morning. If you have a big enough pile, then you can even go daily.
- Offer to take Christmas trees. Some people may even be willing to pay you to take them. Saw the branches off to put in the compost bin, and leave the trunk to dry to become firewood or art wood.
- Take leaves off sidewalks.
- Put out a "compost bin" at a farmer's market. Encourage people to put their organic materials in it. Some people might bring their compost to you if you are there every week to collect it.
- Make a compost collecting day where you go down the street collecting people's donated organic material they put in a paper bag near the sidewalk for you.
- Have a collection bin in your front yard and encourage people to drop off their food scraps. Care must be taken to make it easy enough to get to, but far enough that it isn't treated like a public trashcan for everyone who walks by.
- Collect newspapers.
- If people in your neighborhood have a yard waste cart that the city picks up, ask their permission for you to go through it before they put it out. You could even offer to put out people's carts on collection day with your "pay" is being able to take stuff out of it. You have to be very consistent with this or people will be mad that their cart was not put out.
- Pay kids to ask neighbors if they can have their leaves and compost materials they may have at that time. That gives kids a good job and may help beautify the neighborhood. This idea does cost money though.
- Ask groundskeepers at big facilities if you can have their leaves. They may already have a company that picks up their yard waste to compost.
- Start your own mowing business and keep the clippings for yourself. I am a little bit hesitant about this option because there is no telling how much fertilizer and pesticides have been used on the grass. Also, I'd be afraid that gas lawnmowers might leave residue.
I hope to get lots of leaves and pumpkins in the fall for my compost piles.