Dear Earth, I'm Sorry: Confessions of a non-composting, methane maker | The Green Issue | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Special Issues & Guides » The Green Issue

Dear Earth, I'm Sorry: Confessions of a non-composting, methane maker

The importance of composting and what benefits come from doing so.



I have a confession to make, I'm not composting - at least not in the way that I know that I'm supposed to. I'm mulching my grass and all, but my orange peels and coffee grounds are still going down the drain or into the garbage.

It's not that I'm not aware of the benefits of composting, or that it's too much work. Like most people, I'm just too lazy and cheap to make the initial investment of time and money.

Don't get me wrong, I actually care about the waste I'm putting into the landfill - an issue that was hammered home during a recent visit to said landfill for a story about a new methane gas conversion project.

As I stood recently above the 250-foot hole, the rich scent of methane fumes hanging in the air, I couldn't help but think of all those coffee grounds and orange peels I'd chucked over the years.

So, I've decided to do something about it. As soon as it stops snowing, I'm building a composter. I've done the research. I know how easy it is.

And if I can do it, you can, too. I'm not going to pretend to tell you the best way to go about it, but I can say that there is a wealth of helpful information and step-by-step instructions on the Internet.

Here are a couple of helpful sites to get you and me started.

University of Missouri Extension Service

An information-rich site with instructions on how to build a variety of different composting systems, including three bin, worm, barrel and more.

Backyard Gardner

Great site with PDF links to detailed instructions and diagrams for compost bin construction. Includes plans for barrel composting, pallet systems, three bins, etc. It also includes a fun PBS-style YouTube video on the science of composting.


A good overview of composting with some decent instructions on how to build a single bin system from palates or scrap wood.

About The Author

Add a comment

More by Eric Flowers

Latest in The Green Issue

More in The Green Issue

  • Green Machine: Energy Transformation

    Maybe it’s something in the water, or the upholstery of our Subaru Outbacks that makes Central Oregonians so environmentally conscious, a fact that’s readily apparent in our recycling rates (almost 45 percent of our waste is now repurposed) and our embrace of solar power. (We’re home to half a dozen installers and recently added two of the biggest solar systems in state at Bend Broadband’s data center and Facebook’s new server farm in Prineville.)

    Whatever the reason, sustainability isn’t just a way of life in Bend -- it’s an industry that includes everything from small windpower producers like Redmond’s Abney Electrix to a people-powered cycle pub in Bend. This year’s Green Issue is a snapshot of how Central Oregon is putting itself on the forefront of the sustainability movement both individually and collectively. While there are dozens of interesting examples of how entrepreneurs, public agencies and private citizens are blazing a green trail, we’ve narrowed our focus to seven projects that show how Central Oregonians are putting their values into practice; examples range from a multimillion dollar community forest project to a natural soap making business. Read it, share it and then recycle it. (EF)

    • Apr 12, 2012
  • Get Comped for Your Commute: Commute Options understands the power of an incentive

    Good things come from Commute Options when you choose to be green on the roads.
    • Apr 11, 2012
  • Commuter Kit: Bike Commuting Made Easy

    A few things you'll need when taking to the roads on your bicycle.
    • Apr 11, 2012
  • Going Native: Get your spring planting started right with OSU-Extension Service approved plants

    A few plants you're sure to admire to kick off your spring planting.
    • Apr 11, 2012
  • The Grass is Always Greener: Five Easy Ways to Make Your Backyard Eco-Friendly

    Five tips to help make your yard more eco-friendly.
    • Apr 11, 2012
  • Reduce Your Energy Costs

    Lower the cost of the energy you use.
    • Apr 11, 2012
  • Top 10 Tips for Reducing Energy Usage While Cooking

    Tips to lower the amount of energy you are using while you cook.
    • Apr 11, 2012
  • Buy Local and Organic

    Stay green by buying local and organic produce.
    • Apr 11, 2012
  • Water Conservation

    The best ways to conserve your water supply.
    • Apr 11, 2012
  • More »