These blogposts always relate to some area of sustainability, not just composting.

I debated whether or not I should write about my dog dying. Honestly, it happened so recently that it’s all I can think about and I think writing about it could be therapeutic. Here is another thing that has been surprisingly therapeutic: mindfully rehoming all of her food, treats and supplements.

I have to back up and tell you this story. We used to have a lovely cleaning person named Chrystyna. She had a dog named Fluffy. Actually, she had a series of dogs named Fluffy, which we thought was hilarious. Anyway, every time she came to our house to clean, she brought a treat for our dog Izze and she made sure that Izze knew that the treat was from Fluffy.

My daughter Etta came home to be part of saying goodbye to Izze and when she went back to school, I asked if she wanted the leftover liver treats to give to her housemate’s dog Paint. She is carrying on the tradition of letting Paint know that they are from Izze. Etta is delighted by how jazzed Paint is about these treats.


I started by offering some consumables to my next-door neighbors for their senior dog—some kibble with glucosamine to help the joints and some greenies for dental health—which they graciously accepted. Then I began investigating what our local shelter, Evanston Animal Shelter, would accept. I was super surprised that they will take open bags of food if you have the original bag!

I wrote about the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy Pyramid last October in a blog post called Feeding Hungry People. The action that follows feeding hungry people is feeding animals.

While looking on Evanston Animal Shelter’s website, I learned a little about their efforts to help people feed their pets, programs that effectively help to feed hungry people by helping them feed their companion animals. Our composting customer Nina Kavin of Dear Evanston wrote a story about the shelter’s related and lovely custodial program.  

I can understand, sort of, the urge to put all of the painful reminders into a garbage bag and throw them all out and be done with it. But as my daughter Clara likes to say: have you met me?! There’s no way I could do that. We had to compost a large amount of kibble because we, unfortunately, did not have the original bag. That was my version of throwing it all away.

Keep shelters in mind if you are moving and have cleaning supplies to donate because they always need those too.

The WasteShed comes to Evanston

Did you hear that The WasteShed is opening a second location in Evanston? They are taking over the north room of Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse (ERW). Their missions align so perfectly.  You may recall reading about ERW because they are one of the hosts of our food scrap dropoff programs.

The WasteShed is an organization that lives at the intersection of crafting and sustainability. I bet you didn’t think that was possible!

Here’s how they describe themselves: “The WasteShed is a creative reuse center in Chicago. We collect reusable art and school materials that would otherwise be thrown away and make them available to teachers, artists and anyone who needs them at low cost.”

When I was downsizing, I brought a ton of stuff to The WasteShed’s Chicago location in Humboldt Park. Not literally a ton, although like us, this is their unit of measure for measuring their diversion rates.

They are planning a November 2021 opening. We can hardly wait.

Environmental Justice Discussion Group

We’re winding down on the first year of our discussion group. It has been enlightening, challenging, inspiring, sobering, discomfiting, heartbreaking. Was it everything we’d hoped for? It was a lot of what we hoped for. We chose the right facilitator, Lesley Williams. She provided the challenges and we really appreciated that about her. We may have even given her a glimmer of hope that the readings and discussions have opened people’s eyes a bit to the wider implications of environmental justice. Honestly, we would have liked to have had more diversity in the demographics of the participants, though we did get some. We’re excited to begin planning the next year of selections. 

Author Details
Zero Waste Consultant | Collective Resource, Inc.

Mary Beth strongly believes that, “It’s always better to be doing something rather than nothing.” If you’re thinking of composting at home, she can help you work out what your particular “something” can be.

She’s confident a solution can be tailored to fit anyone’s needs and ambitions. “Anyone who eats can be a CRI customer, whether you are an individual or a large organization. I want you to understand the advantages of composting, and I can show you how CRI can make it easy.” Mary Beth has successfully designed waste diversion strategies for individuals, schools, houses of worship and other communities. She’s received the governor’s Environmental Hero award for her work at her daughter’s school. Whether you’re starting with a backyard bin, a kitchen bucket, a worm farm, or large-scale commercial collection, Mary Beth can be your good-natured guide.