Category: Solutions

Wanna See Something Pretty?

IMG_3422For a few years now, my roommate and I have been stashing our compostable food scraps in the freezer, and taking them to the GrowNYC guy at the farmer’s market on Saturdays.

I can compost pretty much everything, since I’m plant-based; if you see eggshells, they’re hers. We reuse four of those clear plastic containers that baby spinach comes in (you know the ones?), and dump our scraps into these bins throughout the week.

Often when I add things to the containers, or get ready to take the scraps to the farmer’s market, they have become gorgeous compositions. NOTE: I do not arrange them at all. Except to make room for more scraps in the containers.

What follows are ten of the photos I’ve taken as part of an ongoing project. I envision a gallery show at some point, to raise funds (and awareness) for preventing food waste.

Meanwhile, enjoy! Feel free to share this post, but please ask before using the photos for anything. (And see if you can identify the foods before reading the ingredients . . . 🙂 )

“From a Small Seed”


(Brussels sprouts, banana peels, succulent trimming, oatmeal, teabags)

“Spring Awakening (w/coffee)”


(ground coffee, banana peel, flowers, strawberry collar)



(onion, lemon, grapefruit, orange, carrot, garlic, roommate’s eggshells)

“Moondrops (and Other Planets)”


(moondrop grapes, avocado pit, moldy limes, spinach stems, teabag)



(bread heels, chickpea skins, lemon, house plant, Tostitos)



(corn husks, celery, red onion, spinach stems, carrot peel, eggshell)

“Coffee & Oatmeal”


(coffee & espresso grounds [w/filter], gladiolas, summer fruit, kale stems, oat)

“Brown (and pink)”


(banana, popcorn, mini tortillas, sesame crackers, pink mold)

“Banana Flowers (something of the marvelous)”


(carnations, bananas, popcorn, teabag, Italian parsley or cilantro)

“Des radis”


(radishes, greens, leeks)

Let me know what you think. I’ll post more later on. And follow me on Instagram @PlanetDeb, if you want to see them as I go . . .


© Debra Castellano. All reproductions are prohibited, except for non-commercial purposes, which should also give credit to Debra Castellano and/or link to this site.

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What an enviro-dork does on her summer vacation (pt. 2)

When we last left off, I’d just gotten back to Montauk from a little day trip to Block Island, exploring its recycling center and new off-shore wind farm. And also riding my friend Anna’s bike around, sampling the local food, talking to random strangers . . . Totally fun day.

recycling-bagWhen I got home early that eve to the house I was sharing “out east” for the summer, the shopping bag that I’d left for my housemates to put their recycling in had grown quite a bit. Ya see, information had previously been circulating that we just had to put our recyclables into the garbage with everything else, and it would be sorted at its final destination.

Well. I was suspect. Hence the bag.

The next day, I went on a mission to the Montauk dump — or more accurately, the Montauk Transfer Station — to find out the truth.

Borrowing Anna’s bike again, I put my beach towel and my 800-page copy of Moby Dick into my backpack; then put the bag of recyclables into a plastic trash bag (which I later re-used) and tied that onto the backpack. The big Poland Springs water jug went into a nylon shopping bag tied to the handlebars. Here’s me, ready to go (and for all you #nomakeup girls, you can kiss my unadorned arse, ’cause this is the real deal):  Read More…

Stumped, and a Trip to an Island

MontaukmorningMonday morning:

I’m having a tough time trying to figure out how to save the world today.

It’s not because I’m in Montauk at the moment, sitting out on the deck with my coffee and oatmeal, a warm breeze on my skin, a kitty in the shade next to me, and a nice, new copy of Moby Dick at the ready. Which should make me feel pretty content.

Also, I’m thrilled with the response to my post on becoming a vegan — I’m actually having a positive impact! YEAH!

But then there’s all this:

I just took a look at to see for myself where Donald Trump’s frightening ideas are coming from.

Once our first female President takes office (please, god), I’m afraid she will be so tainted that any forward movement of our fair sex will be negligible.

Sea levels are rising NOW due to melting polar caps caused by manmade climate change, wreaking havoc on our coasts. (More than just the recent Louisiana floods.)

And my Dad told me this weekend that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. 😦

No wonder my head hurts and I want to cry.

So what waste-tastic things should I write about today? I have loads of ideas in the bin (no pun intended). . . Read More…