Mini Travel Compost Experiment

Last day of a 10-day conference, getting ready to check out of hotel. With my “portable compost collection” setup. This thick foil-lined popcorn bag (yes, I still buy stuff in single-use containers more than I want to) turns out to be a good portable compost collection container. I’ll rinse it out at home and probably be able to reuse it at least a few times. I’ve collected just coffee grounds in that bag. 

In the white plastic bag to the right of the compost bag inthe first photo are fruit scraps from a roommate’s smoothies. Nothing leaked or got smelly during the week. I did grab a handful of fine-crumbled oak-leaf litter from the hotel parking lot at one point in the week and added it to the bag of fruit scraps. And, I let the coffee grounds dry out as much as possible by letting them dry a bit in the reusable filter before dumping them into the big foil-lined popcorn bag. (Second photo just shows my reusable coffee filter and the hand-towel I always bring from home as a general-purpose wipe).

Because all of this was ultra small-scale, it did not attract attention (I did not want to divert anyone’s focus away from their work, or create a nuisance in the room) or get in anyone’s way. Now it all fits into my little vinyl cooler and goes home to my garden! It’s not everything but every little bit helps. In the past, I would have felt compelled to collect every single banana peel etc from everyone, and end up with a big unwieldy mess, or else give up on it entirely, do nothing at all and beat myself up. 

Another happy note, the two main takeout restaurants where I ate during the week, let people bring their own reusable cups & dishes! Seems like a real shift is happening.

Would love to hear what others have devised re. composting, upcycling single-use containers, or any other zero-waste while away from home.