In honour of Earth Day today I thought I would share something that John and I have been using for several years now that helps us keep more out of our local landfill.
I was watching a show a few years ago about the astronomical amount of garbage that we human beings produce, and the guest said that each one of us should imagine that we have to bury our own garbage in our own backyard.
Actually get out the shovel, dig a hole, and bury it. How long would our backyards last? Not very long.
I thought this was an incredible statement, and it has stuck with me ever since. After all, the entire earth is our backyard. Now I can’t buy anything without having this in my mind… and I’m so grateful for it.
We’ve been dedicated recyclers, reusers, and repurposers for years, but no matter how much we’re doing there’s always more that can be done. Besides taking into account the packaging of everything we buy, we also purchased a garden green cone a few years ago that we absolutely love.
Here it is.
The purpose of the green cone (or solar cone) is to take all the extra kitchen waste and use solar energy to liquify it, after which it slowly leeches through a buried perforated basket into the earth. The basket also allows worms to freely enter and exit, helping to churn the contents.
The green cone will take fruit and vegetable scraps, breads, meats, bones and other miscellaneous wet kitchen waste such as cooked vegetables, pasta, and dairy products.
This is not a composter. You can’t add leaves, dirt, paper products or anything combustible to the green cone. And because it liquifies the contents, which disappear into the ground below, you don’t use the contents for your garden.
We make our own compost in a proper composter, but we eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and our composter cannot possibly hold all of the scraps/waste. So this was the perfect answer for us.
When our green cone arrived we had to dig a hole big enough to accommodate the perforated basket that’s buried in the ground. It was very important that the basket be buried deep enough so that no odours could come from it that, in our area, would definitely attract wildlife such as raccoons. Detailed instructions came with the cone, and for us this has not been a problem.
We keep our scraps in a kitchen compost container that has a charcoal filter. When that’s full we simply dump it into the green cone and let it work its magic. Even in the winter!
I especially love it for those big rinds that come from watermelon, canteloupe, and corn on the cob (not the husks, which should go into the regular composter) just to mention a few. I cut all the large things into small pieces of about 2″ to make it easier for the green cone to do its job. There are accelerants that can be purchased to make the green cone work even more efficiently, but we haven’t needed to use these.
If any juices run down the outside of the cone when we’re dumping stuff in we just wash it away with water or snow, depending on the time of year, so that it doesn’t attract wildlife.
When deciding on where to locate our green cone the most important factors were… it had to have at least 6 hours of sunlight, and the ground had to have good drainage.
The area where we put it was just grass at that time. We designed the area around the greenhouse with raised veggie beds and pea gravel about a year later.
I read that the green cone can accommodate scraps from a family of 6 for a few years (assuming it was put in its ideal location), and then it would have to be moved to a new location.
There’s just John and myself, so I think ours has a few more years left in its current location. Before it’s time to move it we’ll be getting a second one that we can use while this one completely empties itself, and then we’ll move it.
There are a few different companies that make these green (solar) cones so if you’re interested you can just do a search and you’ll get all the information you need to decide if this is something that would work for you in your area.
We bought ours through our local municipality. If my memory serves it was about $60. We’ve had it for about 4 years now, and we love it so much that we’ll never be without one. It’s amazing how much this has lessened what we put out on garbage day.
Thanks so much for reading and Happy Earth Day!!