Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Showing my green: garbage (and ferret poo)

Yesterday was garbage day. After going through the house and collecting everything, including emptying the vacuum, we had two half-full bags of garbage. One is from the kitchen and had other cans collected into it (bathrooms, etc) and the other if from the ferrets room. The bags are Seventh Generation and made of recycled materials. For the little cans I use either plastic grocery bags (though I don't have many any more) or biobags. Most of our "trash" is recycled.

Many people would say two half-full bags of garbage isn't bad for two people over a week's time. I know when I head to work on Mondays, I see a lot more garbage piled up outside of the other houses. I make a conscious effort to purchase items with minimal or recyclable packaging, and we don't use disposable items for the most part (though I still haven't found a viable replacement for freezer bags :( I'm okay with one bag of garbage.

However, that second bag bothers me. We throw away a bag of newspaper, recycled newspaper "litter", unbleached paper towels and ferret "droppings" for the most part. The occasional pop can from Hubby or food bag will enter in, but for the most part it's entirely compostable if I wanted it to be.

So added to my list of things I want to do is composting the ferrets poo. I found such a beast here, but I don't want to pay $100 for something I can make myself. I was already considering a worm compost bin for the basement for the winter months, but maybe I'll have two, or just the poo compost bin inside and continue to trudge outside for the veggies.



In my research on the subject, I've learned that it's important to keep the two compost materials separate, as the poo can contaminate the veggies. I don't understand it all, but I trust my sources and will be adhering to this rule. Ferrets are carnivores, even more so than dogs or cats, so their poo has absolutely no veggie content. The poo of herbivores like rabbits, guinea pigs and the like can usually be composted without the assistance of worms or anything, it's basically already compost itself! But meaty poo or that of an omnivore may need some help. I don't think I could convince Hubby* of just keeping a pile of ferret poo around all the time waiting for it to compost. But if I worked on keeping it contained and promised the worms would work quickly, I think I may be able to get away with it.

*For some insight into the tango Hubby and I are in regarding our lifestyle, I will explain a little. I am a get down and dirty kind of girl. I don't mind dirt, and love getting things done. My mom loves to tell how I once mucked out a chicken coop in July barefoot. Seriously though, those boots are completely stifling and there was no way I was going to do it with them on. Feet are easy to clean too! Bottom line, I don't mind getting dirty and doing what it takes to get things done. Hubby, on the other hand, for all his grunting, bearded manliness, likes things clean. He thinks dirt is gross, and poo even more so (I just can't wait until he has to change diapers!). He makes faces and whiny noises when he has to clean ferret poo, or if he has to clean gunk out of the pond. If something isn't straight-forward and easy, he gets easily frustrated and doesn't even want to bother (especially if it wasn't his idea) so I have to pick my battles sometimes. Which is hard for me since I'm the type to always want to do something, tackle a project and find a better way to make things happen.

I'm a problem solver, even if there isn't an obvious problem, and Hubby prefers the status quo. When we were house shopping, I wanted an old farmhouse that needed work and with some land. Something we could make our own and where we'd have room to be. I came to learn that although he said he was okay with that, he was not. When we walked into the house we now own, he wanted to make an offer after only seeing the laundry room and the kitchen. It was finished, mostly redone, move-in condition, on less than a quarter acre, and all completely landscaped to within an centimeter of its life. He loved it. We bought it. Now he says he wants to die there, never to move again. It's our first house, I'm 26 and he's 30, we have no children, and he's convinced we'll stay in the 1300 square foot house in Swanton forever.

I'm doing my best to make it what I want...but it's definitely not what I had in mind. At least it gives me a problem to solve :)

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