Our Compost Bin Make Over

Home, Sustainability

We started backyard composting back in 2018 and have never looked back. For the longest time, we had a fancy compost pail that sat in our second sink. It would fill up quickly and took up enough space that we stopped using the sink for anything other than compost. I hated the cluttered look and wanted my prep sink back. There had to be another way.

Our kitchen has one of those pull-out trash drawers that hold garbage and recycling cans perfectly. Since most of our garbage is compost and/or recycling, the trash can was really taking up more space than necessary. I decided we needed to find a way to make the compost fit, too. Armed with measurements, pictures, and a loose idea of the final concept, I made a trip to the Container Store.

After searching the entirety of the Container Store, I was not able to find three identical garbage cans that would fit into our pull-out drawer. What I did find was a very workable solution: a small compost bin, with lid, that could hang from the drawer, and two smaller garbage cans that could work for trash and recycling. Thankfully, everything fit perfectly in the pull-out drawer, marking my Container Store visit a success!

Compost Bin

I landed on a Simple Human small trash can with a lid that is designed to hang on the back of cabinet doors. It fits perfectly on our pull-out drawer and I appreciate the easy-to-open lid which contains compost smells. We purchase compostable trash can liners from Amazon that work well with this 2.6 gallon can and are suitable for backyard composting. When looking for compost bags BEWARE! Many are not suitable for backyard composting; only commercial facility composting. That was a nasty lesson :O.

Trash & Recycling Cans

I found two white Eco Cocoon trash cans that fit in the remaining drawer space. Made from recycled materials, these are sturdy and a little flexible which allow for a perfect fit. They each hold 3.7 gallons so I can use standard-size bag for the trash can. While the recycling can does fill up rather quickly, it’s well worth the hassle to have all three cans in the same, organized and tidy place.

How do you compost? Do you have a similar set-up in your kitchen? How do you organize compost with trash and recycling?

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Making a Swaddle Quilt

One of my favorite aspects of newborn life was wrapping my son and daughter up in those super soft swaddle blankets. Made from muslin and printed with adorable images, they brought so much comfort to those early days. Each time I wrapped them up I remember thinking, ‘I would really love being wrapped up in…

Creating a Zoom Worthy Home Office

When my partner and I moved to a new city in 2016, I had to find a new job. Thankfully, I found a position within my current organization that allowed me to work remotely. Most of my new team was based in New York, with a handful of us working all across the country. Adjusting…

Sustainable Gift Wrapping for All Occasions

When it comes to gift wrapping, I used to fall into one of the following camps: I have wrapping paper, but it’s themed (Christmas/birthday) and doesn’t fit the need I need right now (occasion and/or recipient) I have the right wrapping paper, but not enough of it to wrap the gift/s I don’t have any…

Sustainable Gift Wrapping for All Occasions

Home, Parent Life, Sustainability

When it comes to gift wrapping, I used to fall into one of the following camps:

  1. I have wrapping paper, but it’s themed (Christmas/birthday) and doesn’t fit the need I need right now (occasion and/or recipient)
  2. I have the right wrapping paper, but not enough of it to wrap the gift/s
  3. I don’t have any suitable wrapping paper and need to go buy a roll (and tape) while on my way to the event
  4. Screw this, just use a gift bag. Wait, I don’t have any tissue paper. FML.

It was annoying and wasteful, which just made me even more frustrated. Like most people, I don’t have unlimited space to store a Paper Source’s worth of cute wrapping paper in my home. My closets are filled with linens, craft supplies, and clothes. Wrapping paper ranks pretty low on the storage priority list. It’s also really expensive, shockingly expensive given it’s only going to be ripped apart and thrown away.

There had to be a better, more sustainable way.

Wrapping Paper

I scoured the internet and landed on my perfect solution: brown craft paper. Yes, it is plain and boring. BUT, it’s made from 100% recycled materials, works for any occasion and recipient, can be used as coloring/craft paper and other house projects, and can be repurposed after use. Another added bonus is that it can be purchased in bulk and will match another roll perfectly, so there’s less of a chance you won’t have enough on hand. The neutral brown allows you to customize any gift/package with ribbon and/or bows depending on the occasion and recipient. Win-win-win- win!

Tape

My next search led me to find eco-friendly paper tape made from brown craft paper. I love this stuff for so many reasons, but mostly because it’s easy to tear and works well with my wrapping paper. It also blends in nicely, and since it’s recyclable, I don’t have to separate it from the paper before the whole things gets recycled.

Ribbons

For the final step in any gift wrapping process, ribbons, bows or other accoutrement add a visually appealing touch. I love to use multi-colored compostable twine. It’s perfect for adding a touch of color and better for Mother Nature than plastic-based alternatives. I purchased the 11-yard, multi-color pack linked above over a year ago and so far it’s lasted two Christmases, countless birthdays and several housewarmings. When the gift has been opened, I pull aside the twine to reuse or compost.

While my wrapped gifts are not the most shiny or flashy, they do make a statement in their simplicity. Choosing this less common route also opens up a conversation about sustainability; one I’m always up for having. How do you bring sustainability into gift giving? Do you have alterative gift wrapping methods that are good for Mother Nature? I’d love to learn from you!

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Our Compost Bin Make Over

We started backyard composting back in 2018 and have never looked back. For the longest time, we had a fancy compost pail that sat in our second sink. It would fill up quickly and took up enough space that we stopped using the sink for anything other than compost. I hated the cluttered look and…

Secret Bookcase Door

The dream of having a secret passageway in my house has been one since I was a child. Maybe it came from the 90’s classic movies the Secret Garden or Clue. Regardless, when we moved into our current home I saw the perfect spot to build one. My son’s room had four doors in it:…

IKEA Play Kitchen DIY Hack for Under $100

The kid play kitchen. It’s become ubiquitous in the homes of most millennials with kids, and ours is no exception. I originally got the idea to take a base model kid kitchen and spruce it up into something that would blend better in our home from our cousin, Priya. She had taken her daughter’s IKEA…