Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Non-kitchen compost, part 3

Back in September, I posted about my decision to put a little compost pail in the bathroom (made from an empty Blue Bunny ice cream carton that we spray-painted silver). In the intervening months, it's continued to work out pretty well. I use it to dump compostable litter not just when I'm in the bathroom, but also for things picked up in other rooms—such as tufts of cat hair—that are too small to be worth a trip out to the compost bin. (Yes, it's right outside the kitchen door, but in January, just opening the kitchen door is enough to give a person pause.) So now most of these small items, which used to go into the trash, end up in the bathroom bucket, which gets emptied out into the bin every week or so.

The only problem with the bin is that the paint job hasn't held up all that well. As you can see in this picture, the paint is still in pretty good shape on the body of the carton, as well as on the flat top surface of the lid. The rim of the lid, however—the part that gets bent and distorted as the lid goes on and off—has started to peel, revealing the blue plastic underneath. Since the rest of the lid is in pretty good shape, I could simply scrape the paint off the rim and leave the blue edge exposed, but this wouldn't go well with the color scheme in the upstairs bathroom, which is primarily green and white with some touches of brown.

So does this mean I need to scrap my homemade compost bucket and replace it with a pricey alternative like these? No, all is not lost. As it happens, Blue Bunny also makes frozen yogurt, which comes in a carton with a green rim around the lid (as you can see here). So clearly, what we need to do is buy a carton of the frozen yogurt, eat it all, wash the lid, mask off the green rim, and paint the rest silver. Then we will have a new silver lid with a green rim to put on top of the silver bucket we have now. I'm sure that eating white chocolate raspberry frozen yogurt is a sacrifice we're happy to make, but as a rule, we only buy Blue Bunny when it goes on sale for $2 or $2.50 a carton. The regular price is more than twice that.

So I find myself with one of those peculiar dilemmas that only the truly obsessive penny-pincher faces: is it worth paying full price for a carton of the frozen yogurt just to get the lid? Compared to $20 for a new compost pail, $5.69 for a carton of frozen yogurt doesn't seem like such a bad deal, but paying for materials at all is still a big step down from just reusing stuff we already have. And it's not as if we can't use the compost pail in its current state; it just looks a bit messy. So the real question is, is it worth paying an extra $3 to get the new lid now (or rather, as soon as we've finished eating the contents of the carton), or should we put up with the damaged lid until Blue Bunny goes on sale again (not knowing how far in the future that will be)?

Yes, I actually do devote serious thought to these things. I told you I was obsessive.
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