Tag Archives: composting

Roundup: Drive-In Movies; Food Scraps; Train Station Shuttle; Hole In The Wall Gang Camp; More


This morning, the Board of Selectmen approved the Remarkable Theater’s request to continue showing drive-in movies this summer, at the Imperial Avenue parking lot. So far, all 4 shows have been sold out

The very cool addition to Westport’s entertainment scene continues tomorrow (Thursday, July 9) with “Mamma Mia!” and Saturday (July 11), with “The Graduate.” The Dustin Hoffman classic is sponsored by Manna Toast. They offer a $20 movie box meal, which can be picked up at their kitchen behind Cycle Dynamics (near Carvel) that day before the film.

Three more films are set: “Life, Animated” (July 15), “Do the Right Thing” (July 16, in conjunction with TEAM Westport), and “Dazed and Confused” (July 18).

Tickets are now on sale for the 5 movies; click here (and do it quickly!). The parking lot opens at 8 p.m.; showtime is around 9.


Stay tuned for more drive-in movie news. The Remarkable Theater rocks Westport!

A food scraps recycling drop-off area is now open at the transfer station. Residents can bring all scraps, including meat products and bones.

All you need is a lidded container to collect and transport food scraps. Starter kits are also available at Earthplace for $25. They include a 2-gallon lidded countertop pail, 6-gallon transportation bin with lockable lid, and a roll of compostable bags.

It’s all part of Westport’s Zero Food Waste Challenge. For more information, including upcoming events, click here or email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org.


Speaking of food: If you thought about planting an edible garden, but never quite started — it’s not too late!

On Monday (July 13, 7 to 8 p.m., Zoom), Wakeman Town Farm explores 8 veggies and herbs to plant now, to harvest and enjoy from late summer into fall.

The speaker is Kathy Oberman Tracy: WTF board member; Westport Garden Club member and plant sale chair; member of the Herb Society of America, and chef for Martha Stewart, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Click here to register. Suggested donation: $10.


On July 21 (7 to 9 p.m.), Westport Transit will hear public comment on the replacement of its 7 commuter shuttle routes with an on-demand group door-to-service to the Saugatuck and Greens Farms stations.

Passengers would use Norwalk Transit’s app, between 5:45 and 9:45 a.m., and 4 and 8 p.m.

This is different from the on-demand service that replaced the shuttle routes, due to COVID-19.

The hearing will be held remotely. To join, call 646-876-9923, then enter Meeting ID 883 3169 9715. To submit written testimony click here, email info@norwalktransit.com, or write Westport Transit commuter shuttle changes, 275 Wilson Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06854

For a map of the service area and additional information, click here or call 203-299-5164.


The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp has a strong connection to Westport. Our neighbor Paul Newman founded the summer program for seriously ill children in 1988. Plenty of Westporters volunteer at the Ashford, Connecticut facility. For many, it’s the highlight of their year.

This year, due to COVID-19, youngsters won’t enjoy that amazing experience. But organizers have created innovative ways to the camp’s magic to campers. Facebook Live interactive events like sing-alongs and story times, care packages (with games, arts and crafts projects, and more), and Zoom home and hospital bedside visits are a few of the ways to help kids battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

One of the camp’s staunchest friends is Westporter Adam Vengrow. He’s organized a push-up fundraiser. For just $25, anyone can join his team. You can donate too without doing any push-ups.

Click here for details. For more information, email a.vengrow@ven2port.com.


And finally … Beck turns 50 years old today. He is anything but a loser.

Composting And Cutting Food Waste: What Westport Needs To Know

COVID-19 has brought changes to Westporters’ relationships with food.

Supermarkets look and feel different. Some people avoid shopping inside altogether. More than we know rely on free food sources.

Few people, however, realize that 20% of Connecticut’s residential trash is food waste. Sustainable Westport challenges all residents to decrease that amount. Pippa Bell Ader offers these thoughts:

Start by getting to know the food you waste, and how to make the most of the food you have. Compost leftover food scraps, either at home, by paying a hauler to pick up your scraps, or trying the new, free food scraps recycling drop-off area at the transfer station beginning July 6.

Also, consider helping out with food rescue for those who are food insecure.

Webinars provide information on how to do all of this. The Westport Library, Earthplace and Sustainable Westport have partnered to inform the community about the Zero Food Waste Challenge. They include:

  • Eat More with Less (June 10, 4 p.m.)
    Learn about changes to make in planning  and preparing meals, and preserving food. Bridgeport-based Chef Raquel, a cooking educator and caterer, will guide participants through practical and actionable food tips and tricks.
  • Composting Basics with Alice Ely, master composter (June 15, 3 p.m.)
    To turn over a new leaf and decrease food waste, turn over some compost. Learn how to save water, reduce pollution and improve your garden, by making “black gold” at home.
  • Town of Westport Food Scraps Recycling (June 17, 3 p.m.) All you need to know about this new, free program. Find out what can and can’t be recycled.

Click here to register. (Webinars will also be recorded, and available later at www.sustainablewestport.org.)

Backyard composting is great. But if you lack the time, resources or energy to dispose of food scraps that way, you can still do your part for the environment.

On July 6, Westport launches a food scrap recycling program at the transfer station at 300 Sherwood Island Connector. All food scraps and some more will be welcome: fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, bread, rice, pasta, raw and cooked food, cut flowers, coffee grounds (and paper filters), paper tea bags, napkins, paper towels, wax paper and more. Click here and scroll down for a complete list.

Just collect food scraps and other items. (No tissues, please).Bring them in a lidded transportation bin to the transfer station’s specially marked “food scrap drop-off area.”

From the transfer station, material is taken to a commercial composting facility, where it’s turned into compost.

“Starter kits” are not required, but they make it easy. They include a countertop pail, storage and transportation bin, and compostable bags. A kit costs $25 (income-eligible discounts available), and can be picked up at Earthplace.

To order a kit, email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org (put “Starter Kit” in the subject heading), or call 203-293-6320 and leave a message.

Home composting kit.

The transfer station is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Saturday 7 a.m. to 12 noon. Try to avoid drop-off on Saturdays and Mondays, the busiest times at the station.

Questions about any aspect of the Zero Food Waste Challenge? Click here, or email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org

Composting During COVID

The idea was important, and bold.

On April 22 — the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — Sustainable Westport was planning to kick off the “Zero Food Waste Challenge.” The goal: Decrease residential food waste by at least 25%.

The group would point out that over 20% of Connecticut’s residential garbage is food waste. It’s costly to haul to the incinerator in Bridgeport, and does not burn well.

There would be a Zero Food Waste Proclamation from 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, and the inauguration of Westport’s free food scraps recycling drop-off area at the transfer station.

Of course, the coronavirus has put both the kickoff and transfer station opening are on hold.

But other aspects of the Challenge are ready for action. In fact, says Sustainable Westport member Pippa Bell Ader, what better time than during self-isolation to think about the food we waste, how we can change that, and what to do with those inedible food scraps.

Jen Tooker already knows how. The 2nd selectman’s family of 5 have been composting for more than 10 years, since they first moved to town.

They are committed to keeping trash to 1 bag a week, follow an aggressive leftover meal plan, and compost all inedible food (though no animal-based products such as cheese, bones or meat).

The Tookers collect food scraps in a lidded container in the kitchen, keeping smells and bugs at bay. When the container is full — usually once a week — it is brought outside to a 3-section composting system, and dumped into the fresh food scraps section.

2nd Selectman Jen Tooker, with her 3-section compost bin.

Once that section is full the scraps are transferred to the second section, where composting really begins. Eventually the pile is moved to the third section, where it becomes rich compost.

The process takes about 6 months, and requires a bit of lifting. But the Tookers would not have it any other way. They find great satisfaction in taking the time and effort to compost excess food.

There are easier ways to manage food scraps, for sure. But composting has become a part of the Tookers’ lives.

Their system is actually one of the most complex. People new to composting can start smaller and simpler. Sustainable Westport’s website includes many options.

For example: Fill one side of the composter with food scraps and some “browns” (leaves, strips of newspaper, etc.). Once that side is full, fill the other side. By the time you have filled the second side, the first should be full of compost material.

Or consider purchasing a compost bin that sits directly on the ground. Place food scraps in the container, and wait. Several months later, compost comes out the bottom of the container. Because food scraps break down over time, containers seldom get completely full.

You can even make your own enclosure to hold food scraps. Animals might enjoy some of the contents. At least you’re keeping food scraps out of the waste stream.

At this extraordinary time — as we think more than usual about how we get ouor food, and how to make the most of what we have — Sustainable Westport’s social media platforms (website, Facebook and Instagram) provide helpful suggestions.

They can’t celebrate Earth Day with a huge composting celebration. But Sustainable Westport is offer a webinar. On Wednesday, writer/activist Lori Fontanes leads a discussion on “Feeding People in a Time of Climate Change and COVID-19.” It’s co-sponsored by Earthplace and the Westport LIbrary, and limited to 100 people.

Click here to register — and join the heap!

(For more information on Sustainable Westport and composting, click here.)

Leave Leaves Alone!

Last weekend’s “06880” post about Westport’s leaf collection program — which included a brief note at the end about the alternative of composting — drew approving comments from readers. 

Alert — and environmentally conscious — reader Bill Kutik followed up with some information on alternatives to leaf blowers from Aspetuck Land Trust. They say:

Hate the sound of leaf blowers ?

You can leave the leaves alone! You really can leave them on your lawn.

Here are 3 simple steps this fall to do less, and help nature more.

Mulch Leaves on Lawns

Leaves are not litter! Mulch mow these leaves right into the lawn. This adds organic matter and nutrients to the soil, which is good for the grass, prevents weeds, and reduces need for fertilizer in the spring. Here’s a video about how to mulch mow. It really is as simple as mowing over the leaves on the lawn.

Leave Leaves in Beds

Leave leaves in your garden beds. They will decompose, adding nutrients and organic matter to your soil, improving drainage and water retention as well as feeding beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

If you must cut back your plants, just leave the cuttings in the bed so the insects and birds can benefit from them. Birds also love last season’s garden debris for spring nest building.

Ease up on the Leaf Blower

If you love nature, ease up on the leaf blower. Aside from the horrendous noise (90-120 decibels) — which in itself is harmful to all sorts of creatures (including human’s ears) — butterfly eggs will be blown far away; luna moths wrapped in leaves will be totally blasted, and frogs and salamanders, snuggled in moist seclusion, will be ripped apart by hurricane-force winds (180-200mph).

If you use landscapers, please tell them you don’t want them using leaf blowers anywhere except on hardscapes. Mulch-mow the lawns. and let nature settle down for the winter.

The Bottom Line…

Tell friends and neighbors to “leave leaves alone.”

Leaves are not litter; they are nutrients for your lawn and garden. Leave them on your property. It’s less work for you — and it’s better for the planet.

Celebrate fall — don’t blow it!

(For more details on what to do with autumn leaves, click here.)

Eventually, fall leaves fall. What are you going to do with those leaves? (Photo/Andrew Colabella)