26 November 2011

Funday Monday - Bright Ideas

Community Compost

The trash service in the Netherlands goes like this:  trash is picked up every other week.  As in, like twice a month.  Three times if we're lucky.

We also have paper pickup once a month, plastic pickup once a month, and deposit refunds on certain glass containers at the local grocery.

We recycle metal but it takes a longer drive to find a place to deposit it.  But here's the thing that I'm taken with:  on the off weeks, between the weeks when trash is picked up, we leave out a special bin loosely translated "plant waste."  Anything except meat and dairy can go into this bin.  

Essentially, compost.

In exchange, we have access to this compost at at the local dump.  Community compost.  Done for us.  We, unfortunately, don't have much of a use for it, because we have no grass, no place to plant anything.  I enrich our container garden with coffee grounds, etc, but the rest gets donated to this community compost pile.  In the fall, leaves are collected at large wire bins scattered throughout the village, shredded, and added to the compost heap.

This is yet another example of the tight community in which we live.  It took a little getting used to, with our American anonymity mindset and coming from the closely guarded privacy of Japan (everyone riding the trains has plain covers over their books so you can't see what they are reading).  But how amazing is it that we can share things like plant waste and turn it into compost for the whole village?  Or donate 5euros   to plant some flowers behind the church and get to have fresh cut flowers in my house every Saturday for 2 months?  Reminds me of stone soup.

This is the closest I've come to an intentional community, and I have to say I'm digging it.  Do other  communities around the world function this way, so intertwined and yet independent?  Or are we still anonymous to our neighbors, living private lives with private needs?

I'm very interested in this topic, but I still have much to learn.  I guess I have something more to add to my Bucket List.


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