Sophie B Hawkins Composts. You Can Too!

Shortly after moving to Westport in August 2020, a mom received an email from a class mother at Greens Farms Elementary, her kids’ new school.

“Who wants to be part of Sustainable GFS?” it read.

The woman had been looking for a group of environmentally-minded folks. She jumped right in, and has been an avid member since.

She is no ordinary Westporter (if there is such a thing). The woman is Sophie B. Hawkins — the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, and a longtime environmental activist.

Sophie B. Hawkins, and her kids.

Now, she’s helping Sustainable Westport get the word out about food scrap collection (aka “composting”). The other day, she told them:

I did not know how much recycling I could do. But Westport makes it easy to deal with trash (other than when I drove up and down the Sherwood Island Connector looking for “the Dump,” which hardly stands out).

Now I take our food scraps to the separate collection site at the Dump (aka “transfer station”). I have found a great deal of emotional reward from recycling and by managing our trash and food waste.

Westport’s transfer station does not look like a dump.

That’s my way of honoring the privilege of where I live by being more responsible. It’s been mentally healthy for me. And you don’t have to be a gardener to get a lot of reward for sending your food scraps off to be composted.

Paying attention to our household trash has led me to shop differently, cook more, purchase without plastic wrap wherever possible, and get creative about avoiding waste of any kind. My blue bin is much lighter.

And those plastic bags that bread and other food items come in: I now wash them out, drape them over an old pair of drumsticks standing in playdough, then reuse them.

The transfer station offers a food scrap drop-off site.

We have a “no plastic water bottles” policy in our house. I am a real gorilla on it — I mean none, even away from the house. We all got used to it.

Traveling is a challenge when it comes to managing waste, but my band and I have started buying food, carrying utensils and enjoying impromptu picnics on the road.

The pandemic has led us to some very environmentally sound and fun ways of traveling. On my touring rider I ask for no plastic in the dressing room and on stage — only filtered water and healthy containers.

I am  an ardent environmentalist and activist. It’s a prominent feature of my career. I give 100 percent of my royalties from some songs to Waterkeeper Alliance, and rescue animals from catastrophic events. I’m hands on in every way. It’s a primary feature of my career, life and social media.

I believe more Westporters would become committed to food waste reduction and recycling if they knew how easy it becomes. Just jump in without worrying about the details.  Once you start, you won’t want to stop.

A food scrap recycling starter kit.

As for actually collecting food scraps: I use a mixing bowl on my counter. I dump the food scraps in it, and cover with a nice plate. When that’s full I dump it into a small aluminum trash can outside my kitchen door.

I take it to the transfer station every 3 or 4 days, when it’s full.

I try to just model the behavior, and remind my kids to recycle and clear their plates. I don’t ask them to compost their leftovers, because in general I eat or scrape them.

The kids come with me to the transfer station. They help me clean the house. It’s a mellow approach.

My advice is to just use what you have in the house to collect your waste. Try it for one week. Notice how easy it is, and how good you feel doing it. Don’t buy new gear or become crazy.

I noticed how little garbage I have now. It’s uplifting to know I’m helping reduce toxic waste for our planet, for all of us.

Greens Farms Elementary School was in the forefront of food scrap recylcing.

Sustainable Westport invites everyone to join Sophie B. Hawkins in the Zero Food Waste Challenge (click here for details).

Sustainable Westport will be on Instagram Live this Monday (May 9, 6:30 p.m.) with WestportMoms. Follow @SustainableWestport to learn how to compost at home.

As for Sophie B. Hawkins: Right now, she’s touring. She’ll be local this spring and summer. For more information, click here.

5 responses to “Sophie B Hawkins Composts. You Can Too!

  1. Ray Broady

    Glad there are individuals like Sadie B Hawkins and organizations like Sustainable Westport trying to make a difference about waste pollution in our lives today.

    The real problem is the scale of these actions and activities is sadly so miniscule in comparison to the real magnitude of the problems and scale of real waste pollution that most people today have no idea of what is the magnitude of this long term enviromental disaster on the planet today!

    How many in Westport let alone the US know that now about only 5 % of plastics are being recycled by the waste management industry TODAY!

    How many know that there is a plastic and floating waste island that is about 1.6 MILLION SQUARE KILOMETERS floating in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii !! Its so big it is larger than the country of France!

    Or that the plastic waste and chemical pollutants from these wastes are now broken down in our world today in the form of Nanoplastic particles and are pretty much in our complete food chain from all forms of food consumables WE EAT EVERYDAY!

    Hate to be the bearer of such horrible scary news but the current and future fallout from this larger waste catastrophy is possibly more grave to mankinds future than wars and global climate change we face now!

  2. Dorothy Robertshaw

    Fabulous news as always… never knew she was our neighbor. I was a big fan of hers I will have to find her music in my CD collection. In 1990 … I saw her in concert fabulous voice. Happy Mothers Day Sophie … thank you for helping save our environment one day at a time…

  3. Wendy Crowther

    I’ve been composted at home for many years but couldn’t put fat, meat, fish or bones in my compost pile for reasons many of us already know. When Sustainable Westport started the food composting bin, I gave it a try. Like Sophie, I generate very little garbage because I compost, reuse and recycle – so little that I cancelled my refuse service 20 years ago. I totally “get” the good feeling Sophie has when she minimizes plastic use, recycles what she can and throws her food scraps in the container at the dump. I feel I’m playing a tiny role to minimize damage to our planet. If we can all do just a little, a lot can come of it. Thanks, Sophie, for your advocacy and for spreading the word to others.

    • Wendy Crowther

      “I’ve been composted at home . . .” HAH! Maybe my brain has! Oops. I meant “composting.”

  4. John Kelley

    Where I now live, in San Francisco, people have green compost bins where they put out with their trash (along with blue ones for paper and recyclables). IItgets collected just like regular garbage but is used for compost for the state’s farmers.