Composting – It’s All Good

By Janet Barth

I hate waste. It drives me a little bit crazy that juicy food scraps, grass clippings and piles of leaf litter are heading out to the dump to be mixed in with single use plastics. I take this personally as I am attempting to garden on rotted granite in Benton, and I’m scrambling for every bucketful of dark, rich soil I can get my hands into. But it’s not just about me. The organics we toss out morph from an essential resource for replenishing the earth to a harmful waste product outgassing methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Not to mention artificially expanding populations of ravens and rodents, who then spread over the countryside to feed on threatened bi-state sage grouse chicks and endangered desert tortoises hatchlings. 

My personal preference would be a local composting facility at the Bishop Waste Disposal, collecting all green waste from Bishop and Mammoth’s commercial and domestic kitchens, parks and yards. It would be a delight to make a yearly trip in my Toyota Tacoma to load up with finished compost, and I would be more than happy to pay for the privilege. There may be hope on the horizon for more options for bulk composting. The Master Gardeners have applied for a grant from CalRecycle to increase composting options and hope to hear back soon.  We’ll keep you posted.

Artwork by Susan Greenleaf

Until we have more options, I encourage people to set up their own backyard composting systems for their home gardens or to donate collected green waste to local community gardens such as the one run by the Master Gardeners in Bishop.

Though I have been an active composter for many years, I do not claim to be any kind of expert. Therefore, here are a few resources readers can access using the links provided below. Or type the URLs provided below into your browser.

Local Resource

The Master Gardeners offer local compost consultations. Arrangements can be made via email: or by phone at: 760-872-2098. 

Online How To Videos

  • Backyard Composting
  • Worm Composting

Composting Products Available

If you type any of the following headings into your browser, you will see ads for a large collection of products–even a few non plastic ones!

  • Under Sink Compost Collectors
  • Back Yard Green Waste Bins
  • Worm Composting Bins
  • Loveable Loo

Next Level Composting Possibilities

At the risk of offending the squeamish, I offer some articles for two other sources of compost materials

  • Humanure (composting human waste)

I have a Loveable Loo Compost Collecting toilet in my backyard which I find incredibly handy. When the need arises while working outside, I can quickly take care of business without tracking dirt into the house. Nor do I have to make a mad dash for the bathroom after a long drive home, and living in Benton means all my drives home are long.

  • Natural Organic Reduction (NOR) (Composting humans)

As for human composting, I love the thought of being able to return my body to the earth sans chemicals, cremation, or coffin. I see this as a way to make the ultimate connection and act of reciprocity to the Earth.

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