Black gold! You sell them your garbage, they sell you back rich soil

Black gold! You sell them your garbage, they sell you back rich soil
Photo by Bess Adler

One man’s trash is another man — and woman’s — treasure.

So beginning this month, a Red Hook duo will be picking up their neighbors’ garbage, rescuing the stinky stuff from the landfill heap, and transforming it into a booster for garden soil — and their bank accounts.

It’s certainly a “green” solution all the way around: Krissie Nagy and John McGill are asking residents to pay $20 for the pickups, as part of their new operation, Red Hook Compost Pickup.

“We realized a lot of people wanted to compost, but lacked the time or didn’t know how,” said Nagy, a Boston-native.

But don’t be on the lookout for a burly trash truck — pickups will be made by bicycle.

“That’s how we’re going to be relating to the neighborhood and letting them know that their compost will be turned into something that can be used in their gardens,” Nagy said.

Of course, buying back the refined trash has a price: $15 for a 25-pound bag.

Green thumb: John McGill works his magic at a compost “refinery” in Red Hook.
Photo by Bess Adler

Composting — the breakdown of organic matter by microorganisms to produce a nutrient-rich soil conditioner — is already underway at a Commerce Street garden tended by McGill, a Dublin-born artist, craftsman and jack-of-all-trades who handles a rake like he’s holding a violin.

“When you see a lot of stuff around and sitting around, why would you leave it there? It’s going to get thrown away?” he said.

The pair will be accepting fruit, grain and vegetable scraps, and newspapers (please finish reading it first). They will discriminate, rejecting any human or animal waste, meat or dairy — too stinky for the mound — and glossy paper and plastic, which do not degrade.

To get to the finished product, branded “Good Shite,” the compost mound is supplemented by nitrogen-rich additives, such as coffee chaff and horse manure. Then it’s a matter of time, air, and care.

“By the time we get to the end, the result is something refined, something beautiful,” McGill said.

Something rich, too.

McGill shows off the “raw” material for his black gold.
Photo by Bess Adler

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