One Gal’s Garbage…

For the three people who read this blog, here’s something you might not know: I’m a super hero. This is not a joke. I’m known in certain well-recognized circles as Compost Girl.

Yes, I live in Manhattan. In an apartment. Without, it should be noted, a lick of outdoor space. Nonetheless, I compost my vegetable scraps. I’ve become that person. The canvas-bag-holding, organic-food-eating, green-product-using superfreak. I’m recycling junk mail, shredding store receipts and recycling those as well (natch). Those empty toilet-paper rolls? You know what I’m doing with those. And, most importantly, I’m saving the world, one bag of frozen vegetable scraps at a time.

The source of my superpower strength is the freezer. Throughout the week, I throw bruised bits of nectarines, limp leaves of lettuce, and rotten parts of onions (among other unusable vegetal remains) in a giant ziplock bag and shove it in the freezer. The bag is enormous. Really, it’s like the size of a Kia. I don’t think they make a bag bigger:

Then, the compost phone rings—it’s actually an old rotary phone that the Eco Friends (cousins to the Super Heroes) deemed the only acceptable instrument of communication—and that’s when I know it’s time to haul the compost downtown. Actually, that’s a lie. I don’t have a compost phone; my signal to unload compost is when husband’s gripes about the lack of space in the freezer reverberate off the apartment walls. Loudly. Whatever. I like to think of it as my compost phone.

So, I squeeze into my compost leotard, which, it should be noted, has sparkles, tie on my long, red cape, and hop on the subway with my 30 pounds of frozen vegetable scraps in tow.

Do people stare at me in my awesome compost costume? Yes, but I think it’s because they are envious of my white, patent leather knee-high boots. Am I uncomfortable shifting my weight from one foot to another while my compost poundage slowly melts on my hip and condenses on the outside of my nylon greenmarket bag? A bit. But it’s a small price to pay for saving the world.

I alight from the subway, then run as quickly past what is possibly one of the most foul-smelling stretches of sidewalk in Manhattan (on the east side of Union Square Park) to the compost dump area. There…there is where my magic is on full display. I dump my frozen garbage into giant trash cans then stand back, cape a flutter in the wind, hands on hips, face turned toward the sun as I bask in the adoration of the masses who’ve flocked to thank me for giving back to Mother Earth.

That is, you know, until somebody elbows me out of the way. This is New York, after all.

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