As an environmental journalist, curiosity often prompts me to look in the trash bins in my community for kitchen waste. More than 1 meter in height, the bins are usually full after no more than half a day.
Having been born and raised in rural China, I am keenly aware that many of the things that end up in the bin, including vegetable leaves and leftover food, have a completely different fate in many rural communities.
When I was at school, my mother collected these things to feed our chicken, pig, cat and dog. The animals' excrement was then used to nourish the land that produced our food.
Here in my community, however, they tarnish the trash bin, recyclable waste and even the surrounding area, making much of the garbage unsuitable for recycling. Moreover, they have to be transported far away for disposal, inevitably resulting in emissions of air pollutants and carbon dioxide.
A question has been perplexing me: what can be done to reduce the waste, at least in my own home? There is a popular informal saying among Chinese youth: "If you have a question, ask "Duniang" (a nickname for the search engine Baidu).
Duniang did offer me an answer: a compost tumbler. With the help of bacteria specially used for composting purposes, such a facility can help transform kitchen waste into organic fertilizer. I couldn't wait to start trying it last summer, especially as there is a large piece of land with sparse vegetation in my community. Compost could be used to grow flowers and beautify the area.
On March 17, the day after my son's third birthday, my wife and I decided to use the compost we made last year to plant some flowers. We also collected dog poop that could be seen here and there on the bare ground in my community, which we buried in the area we chose for the flower.
We named it "Our Beautiful Home Plan" and would like to make it a long-term community-based environmental campaign. We hope that more people in our residential block will join us to make our community more beautiful.