Introduction: Bathroom Compost

Whitehorse is working towards becoming a ZERO WASTE municipality, which inspired me to look around my home to see how I could divert more of our waste.

Most of us are aware of the benefits of composting, and many of us make the effort to compost food scraps from our kitchen. I decided to start composting in my bathroom because paper products, like tissues or paper towels, are a welcome addition to any compost pile.

Paper products (carbon source) alternated between layers of greens (nitrogen source) actually help in the composting process. If you have your own backyard composting, this process might have a bit more effort to it, as you should worry about the amount of the carbon vs nitrogen that you are layering. Read more about it.

However, Whitehorse composting facilities are really well established and on an industrial scale. This is the case for a lot of towns. For that reason, I focus on making the behaviour change towards more composting easier in my household.

Step 1: Purchasing

Good bathroom composting starts with purchasing decisions.

It helps to purchase 100 per cent post-consumer waste-paper products that are processed chlorine-free. I go with seventh generation, but there are lots of products available.

Step 2: Materials

If you build it, they will come.

All you need is a paper bag! That's it.

The advantage of a paper bag is that you can compost it as well. However, I do tend to re-use one bag for quite a few months because it doesn't need to be changed that often.

Place the paper bag beside your bathroom garbage and label it if you feel that is necessary. Tissues, hair, nail clippings, etc. can all be thrown into the compost rather than the garbage!

There is no additional work in bathroom composting for me. My compost and waste containers are side by side outside my door. When I clean the bathroom it is the same amount of effort to take out the garbage as to take out the compost (again, this may not be the case if you have a backyard compost).

My roommates adjusted to the change without comment, and I never notice anyone throwing something away that should be composted.

Step 3: See the Results

To be honest, I didn't think that we threw out that many paper products from the bathroom. When a summer cold blew through my house, I realized that there can be real potential for waste diversion in home bathrooms.

This method has been a success for a couple of reasons:

  • We have at least halved our bathroom waste!
  • We have increased our household awareness for composting, which has a trickle down effect into other areas of our lives.

Comments

author
ashleyjlong (author)2015-08-29

Very nice idea! I'll have to read up on composting more. I've been interested in doing it for our garden, but we have very limited space in our apartment (no great place to keep a compost bin. I would very much like to see all our paper waste go to something greater than the trash.

author
gravityisweak (author)2015-08-28

Interesting idea. I hadn't thought of that before. I know that food waste programs are way ahead in Canada, we don't have them in any place I've seen in the states. Although I notice an enormous reduction in waste simply from having a yard compost and recycling everything I can. I really think one of the final steps in coming to zero waste is simply buying packaging that is 100% recyclable. After learning about waste management I have a new appreciation for our limited space, and at some point in the future I think we will be mining our old landfills and recycling what's inside them both for resources and for land reclamation.

author
Loblaw (author)gravityisweak2015-08-28

Absolutely, although interestingly here in Whitehorse we have to truck most of our recyclables down south for processing.

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