Are You a Socially-Minded Gardener? A Master Composter at Heart? How Good is Your Recycling Strategy for Both Your Kitchen Scraps and Yard Trimmings and Yes – Your Career?

What is “Composting” you may ask? One definition is that it is the “Controlled” biological decomposition of carbon-containing matter by fungi and bacteria into a stable and useful humus material – or – fertilizer. It is a process that allows decomposed materials to be reused as a nutritious supplement for your garden, lawn, and house plants. The most common materials used for composting is leaves, grass, weeds, and kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, tea bags, pizza crusts, bread, crackers, beans, rice, cereal, pasta, nuts, herbs, spices, and egg shells.

But “composting” is more than a process – it is a strategy – a way to manage the reduction of solid municipal waste. The same idea holds true for the recycling of one’s career – it is a strategy for overcoming professional hurdles such as company downsizing, restructuring, or mergers. I liken it to a three-pronged strategy for finding that next job, for tapping into team-building resources, and for gaining momentum up the corporate ladder. In addition, the recycling of one’s career is also a process – an individual self-assessment of one’s own unique talents and work experiences to date – broken down to its smallest components – recyclable skills such as writing, planning, researching, conceptualizing, negotiating and promoting.

So in essence, whatever recycling strategy you choose – whether it’s for your lawn or your career – the outcome is sure to enrich your life and the lives of others. Test yourself then with these trivia questions and see if you are up to the 21st century challenge of recycling both personally and professionally.

1- Which U.S. state has the oldest “Compost School” in the nation providing training experiences and interactive opportunities to farmers, businessmen, and government workers who are involved with medium and large-scale composting operations?
A) New Jersey B) Virginia C) Massachusetts D) Maine

2- Currently, in the USA, 33.8% of municipal solid waste is recovered, recycled or composted, 11.9% is burned at combustion facilities, and the remaining 54.3% is disposed of in landfills. Which U.S. island is a leader in the “Zero Waste” movement which ideally seeks to eliminate all waste being shipped to landfills by way of recycling, reusing, and composting strategies?
A) Jekyll Island B) Nantucket C) Mackinac Island D) San Juan Islands

3- Achieving the correct moisture content in a compost pile is an important factor in keeping it working efficiently. Biological activity will stop completely if the pile dries out. Thus the ideal percentage rate for measuring compost water content is which percentage – 30%, 50%, 70%, or 85%?

4- Large-scale “vermicomposting” is practiced in the USA, Canada, Japan, Italy, Malaysia, and the Philippines. What special animal expedites this process of breaking down compost materials? A) Squirrels B) Mice C) Wild Rabbits D) Worms

5- Which cool compost-heated thing has not been invented yet? A) Compost-heated greenhouse B) Compost-heated Japanese Tea Room C) Compost-heated car fuel D) Compost-heated outdoor shower E) None of the Above – All Have Been Invented

6- Recycling activity can create anywhere from 4 to 10 more jobs for every 1 job created in the waste management and disposal industries. True or False?

7- Curbside composting in large urban environments has skyrocketed over the last three years. There are now more than 90 cities with such a program. One major reason for the program is that landfills across the nation have reached their maximum capacity as Americans generate 250 million tons of garbage per year. True or False?

8- Which city is the top composting city in America? It has the largest compost collection program in the U.S. including restaurants and food-related establishments. A) Seattle B) New York City C) San Francisco D) Los Angeles

9- The demand for sustainable planning consultants is high – seven times higher than for all other industries. Their role is to provide businesses with tools and information to minimize environmental impact. Which of the following recyclable skills are essential for such a career path? A) Problem-solving skills B) Organizational skills C) Analytical skills D) Client-Oriented Service Skills E) All of the Above

10- Do you have what it takes to be a socially ‘green’ entrepreneur? Here are two examples: One is a two year old Utah-based company called “EcoScraps”. Their business model – they collect leftover food from grocery stores, Costco stores and produce wholesalers – turn it into bags of compost mix – and then sell these bags thru home improvement stores like Home Depot. The second example is a three year old Florida-based foundation called “Clean the World” which is now the largest recycler of hotel amenities in the world. Their business model – they collect leftover hotel soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and gels – recycle them for distribution to communities and countries in need of better hygiene and sanitation – and thereby help to fight the global spread of preventable diseases. In just three years of operation, they have managed to distribute more than 11 million bars of recycled soap to children and families in Haiti, Canada, the U.S. and 40 other countries worldwide.

Answers: (1) D – Maine (2) B – Nantucket (3) 50% (4) D – Worms (5) E -None of the Above-All Have Been Invented (6) True (7) True (8) C – San Francisco (9) E – All of the Above (10) I am hopeful that the answer is YES!


Have you any green ideas, insights, experiences of your own to add or share?