When I revealed my plan to start rogue composting — by sneaking in my compostables in my neighbor’s green bin — I was met with mixed reactions. Some, like Eco-Vegal Gal, revealed she’d already been rogue composting for sometime. Others, like heidi who bluntly wrote “don’t mess with other people’s cans,” were less enthused with my idea.

And a few gave suggestions for making my composting plans less rogue. “If you can muster the courage, it might be worth it to put up a CL post or just ask a neighbor if you can use their bin,” wrote Leah, blogger at penn. Cai was more snappish about it. “Is there a reason you can’t knock on a door of someone who uses the green bin for compost and just ask their permission?” he demanded.

Well, I reserve the right to try rogue composting in the future, but Leah and Cai got me thinking — Do I know anyone in Beverly Hills who might let me use their green bin? That’s when I thought of Ellen Lutwak, an environmental activist who started a group called NetWalkers90210 to encourage walking in Beverly Hills.

Turns out, Ellen’s got a compost bin! So instead of my usual run, I walked to Ellen’s place this morning — toting two small bagfuls of compostables. A mile and a half later, Ellen introduced me to her slightly cobwebby composter — and announced plans to get more serious about composting properly, now that I’m adding to the pile!

Next to the composter was a gigantic grapefruit tree so fruitful that it was dropping citrus onto Ellen’s yard. I helped Ellen shovel some of those into the compost bin — and was rewarded with some low-hanging fruit.

Now, I not only have a not-so-rogue composting option, but I’m also citrus-rich!

Why don’t I just get my own composter? As I mentioned before, my apartment is just really small — less than 400-square-feet small. If I got a worm composter as many MNNers recommended, the wormies would practically be sleeping in my bed! I am not ready to get that familiar with creepy crawlies.

I also don’t think personal composters are always the solution. In the same way many cities make mulching and composting of yard waste easier through green bins that collect and streamline the work, I think larger, city-wide composting programs could make urban composting more efficient. On a practical level, I think many people are willing to separate their compostable food waste the same way they recycle their recycling -- while only a relative few are willing to invest in and maintain a composter. than are We’ve already got green bin programs for single-family homes in many cities, so why not make all the green bin programs also accept food waste — and expand the programs to apartment buildings too?

At the very least, I think all farmers’ markets should offer compost drop-off programs — like some of the farmers’ markets in New York City do. That seems preferable and less wasteful than, say, equipping every small apartment dweller with a $300 Naturemill composter — or even a less expensive worm composter for the less wriggly-phobic.

In the meantime, I’m composting with the help of my neighbor. How about you? Do you share your compost bin?

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