Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Exciting composting news in St. Paul's Macalester-Groveland neighborhood

Eureka Recycling unveiled its residential composting project in St. Paul's Macalester-Groveland neighborhood Wednesday. They plan to do this for three months using three collection methods: truck, bicycle and drop-off. And they're dividing the neighborhood into three 200-household chunks, to see who participates and which collection method makes the most sense holistically (people participating, energy used, carbon footprint, economic viability, etc.) Lots more details are here. These photos are from the media event; St. Paul City Council members Pat Harris and Russ Stark, and folks from the Macalester-Groveland Community Council, the Green Institute, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Macalester College, Linden Hills Power & Light and the University of Minnesota attended.

Green cart is for curbside collection, pink bin for drop-off

Turning food scraps into compost (a.k.a. really good dirt)

Prof. Christy Manning, who teaches and studies the psychology of sustainable behavior


  1. dear trashbasher, i have a question. i have been composting kitchen scraps for about 8 months now and lately our kitchen has been overrun with fruit flies. they appear inside the compost bin and when i open the lid to toss in a scrap, they fly out. i can't get rid of them.

    i dump the compost outside often, i wash the inside of the ceramic pot, i use a charcoal filter, nothing helps. i bet you know what to suggest.

  2. Ohh, that sounds downright unpleasant. I found these ideas; see if any of them help.


    The Vacuum
    My old standby, the vacuum, is irreplaceable during any fruit fly or fungus gnat invasion.

    Fly Traps
    Of the sticky tape variety are also quite useful.

    Yes, cinnamon! I have read that cinnamon is a natural insecticide, and I must say that my initial findings are definitely encouraging. To combat my current problem, I have left the lid off of my bin and generously sprinkled cinnamon all over the top layer. The result? A mass migration of the young flies out of the bin and straight into my vacuum cleaner hose.
    Read about more solutions including beer traps, coffee grounds and freezing from


    Fruit flies can travel into our homes, unbeknownst to us, as larvae on the fruit we buy. The adults lay their eggs, invisible to the naked eye, on bananas and other fruits, which later hatch while the fruit is in our fruit bowls. If we put fruit skins containing fruit fly larvae into our worm bins, we soon have a healthy population of fruit flies in and around the worm bin. It is advisable not to add any more food to the worm bin until the fruit flies are gone. Since banana peels seem to be the most common bearer of fruit fly larvae, some people prefer to compost banana peels in outdoor bins only.* Banana peels are also beneficial to rose bushes as a source of potassium and can be buried directly into the soil around the plants (not more than three skins per rose bush per week). Fortunately, fruit flies have an excellent sense of smell and are strongly attracted by bananas. A simple, nontoxic, inexpensive, humane way to trap them is to place a banana peel inside a clear plastic container and make three or four holes in the cover with a standard round toothpick. Be sure to pull the toothpick all the way through the plastic and wiggle it around to make a hole large enough for a fruit fly to crawl through. Place the plastic container in or near the fruit bowl, not inside the worm bin. (If the worm bin is not in your kitchen, place the fruit fly trap on a surface above the worm bin; if it is inside or too close to the worm bin, the odor of the banana peel will not be distinct enough to attract the fruit flies as effectively). Within 24 hours, about 99 percent of the fruit flies will be inside the plastic container, having entered the holes and not found their way out. Each day, take the container outside and release the fruit flies.

  3. we have actually Stopped buying bananas, thinking it was the peels that were attracting the flies. but after two weeks of non bananas, the flies are as bad as ever. joey told me that they are attracted to *coffee grounds,* that the old photo lab at the strib always had fruit flies on account of the coffee.

    i guess i'll try cinnamon.

  4. Do you have any idea what came of this 3-month trial? Is St Paul moving forward on curbside composting? Do you know where I could find out more? Thanks

  5. I wish I knew more details, Dionne, because I'd like to know, too. Eureka Recycling organized the trial, so I'd contact them for info. Please let me know what you find out! Thanks!