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Compostable waste
#1
I have separated and composted my garbage and separated my recyclables for a few years now. By doing that I am down to one bag of garbage  (tall kitchen size ) every two weeks. Being on the road you couldn't do that, but I was wondering what the feeling is about burying compostable waste  in boondocking or state park situations is.

This is the level of minute detail that keeps me awake at night and I've barely begun my build - I think I'm obsessed , mental ,or both.
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#2
I personally wouldn't bury mine. however when I have a campfire I burn everything I can. I always do this for complete combustion. nothing but ash left and no synthetics like plastic or foam. just paper and food that will burn completely. highdesertranger
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#3
(04-22-2016, 07:25 PM)IanC Wrote: I have separated and composted my garbage and separated my recyclables for a few years now. By doing that I am down to one bag of garbage  (tall kitchen size ) every two weeks. Being on the road you couldn't do that, but I was wondering what the feeling is about burying compostable waste  in boondocking or state park situations is.

This is the level of minute detail that keeps me awake at night and I've barely begun my build - I think I'm obsessed , mental ,or both.

For state parks, don't even think about it...seriously!! State parks are absolutely high, high use. If only 10% of the visitors did it, it would be a landfill in no time flat! Mind you, most state parks I've been in have recycling bins available but not composting bins. It never hurts to ask though.

Boondocking, well, that depends on where you're boondocking. In the southwest, good luck trying to dig anything without a jackhammer!

I will be spending six months in northern Ontario where, yes, in spots you can dig deep enough to bury compostable waste but in much of it, you're up against north american shield with a thin layer of soil on top.

You also want to make sure that you are far enough away from ALL water sources and that you can bury it deep enough to prevent wild animals from digging it up so if you're talking kitchen scraps, it better be deep!

If you're really serious about reducing your garbage then part of the answer is in not buying products that create the waste in the first place. Choose products that don't use as much packaging - cereal in bulk rather than in boxes, avoid canned products when possible etc.

Most towns that I've been through in the southwest have recycling, you just have to hunt them down. Ask at the chamber of commerce. Also ask if they have any place for compostable items, maybe a community garden project that has a composting bin you could use.

It does seem harder to even recycle stuff on the road though, mainly because available space for storing trash is limited.

I'm on day 3 at the Grand Canyon and the National Park has recycling bins everywhere and today I learned that the kitchens in the restaurants here are separating kitchen scraps and the edible stuff goes to help feed the mules rather than in the trash...great idea! The mules are healthier because of a more varied diet and the raw food scraps don't end up in the landfill!
Worry is a misuse of imagination!
 
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IanC (04-23-2016)
#4
"If only 10% of the visitors did it, it would be a landfill in no time flat!"

Huh? Perhaps you're misunderstanding the concept of composting. You dig a hole, bury your lettuce leaves and cantaloupe rinds, and fill it in. The microbes in the soil digest the waste and it becomes nutrients in the soil. It doesn't just sit there and build up like plastic jugs, soda cans, Lunchable wrappers, old flipflops, etc.

Not that I'm advocating doing it in the parks so much, because as lazy and self-centered as most Americans are, a high percentage of them would start adding things that weren't compostable. AND they would do it right in the campsite.
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#5
During my months on the road, I found it difficult to recycle even my aluminum cans much of the time. I did not stay in state or national parks (which usually have designated bins).

You can take a bit of guilt off in my opinion because, as Bob has demonstrated in a few posts over the years, living the vandwelling lifestyle means we leave a smaller footprint ecologically in general.

It's highly commendable to be searching for better solutions. If you are staying in favorite places over and over, it is easier to take time to find community resources like recycling stations and even community composting sites.
6 months boondocking in 2014; now in s&b but will be full-time again in Sept 2017.
97 Dodge Ram Van 3500. Simple set-up but reliable. Blog is woefully outdated but prepper info promotes my novels: http://prepsandprecautions.blogspot.com/
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#6
Having been involved in what's now known as "Permiculture" over the last couple decades, and building everything from compost bins to composting outhouse systems, I do have some thoughts on burying compost.
I'm not opposed to it in certain situations, and do it myself, but . . . there are things that are well known for composting poorly/slowly. These things should be burned.
They are things like egg shells, onion peels, citrus peels, corn cobs, and other "woody" stemmed things.
Also note that composting requires moisture, not swampy, just some moisture to to keep the microbes alive and active. Burying compost in a dry environment doesn't work. If you dig down a foot and there is no moisture in the soil composting will take way too long to happen. If you're in a place w/ no soil moisture and a burn restriction, then sometimes putting your compost in a mesh bag and letting in dry out makes for a smaller, cleaner, transportable amount of waste.
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#7
(08-01-2016, 11:37 AM)TrainChaser Wrote: "If only 10% of the visitors did it, it would be a landfill in no time flat!"


No, I understand composting quite well thank you!

BUT the majority of the population does NOT understand composting. It's more than just digging a hole and burying stuff. It takes loose material, water, turning, and most important time to compost. The length of time depends on all the other factors including what it is that you're trying to compost.

I stand by my thought that parks and other high use areas are not the place to be burying your compostable waste and expecting it to compost all by itself!
Worry is a misuse of imagination!
 
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Full-timer again as of November 24, 2015 - 14 glorious years on the road before that!



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#8
(08-01-2016, 11:37 AM)TrainChaser Wrote: "If only 10% of the visitors did it, it would be a landfill in no time flat!"

Actually, composting requires air for the composting microbes to work. Composting has to be done at ground level for adequate aeration, and why commercial composting systems and most home composting systems turn piles frequently to create more rapid decomposition. 

Landfills are great examples of the need for air for decomp to happen. When some have been dug up, surprising little decomp has occurred due to lack of air.
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#9
You can usually find the closest places to recycle by googling - recycling drop off locations TOWN or COUNTY or "near me"
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