Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Little Green Science Experiment

What do you do with old, outdated vitamins?

While trying to "simplify" my surroundings, I discovered that I had 20+ bottles of old, outdated vitamins.

So a couple of days ago, I decided to purge my old stash of vitamins.

I looked online (as I know it is not safe to flush them) and I found it interesting that several articles said to toss them in the trash. But then I came across one article about composting them!

Boy was it fun......I felt like I was in High School science lab all over again!

Pretty cool huh?

Things were bubbling and brewing all around me.  I had several bowls going at once. 

My son, Tyler walked in at one point and kind of rolled his eyes at me while pinching his nose.  I could just hear his mind thinking.....oh, oh, mom's totally lost it this time!

But before I passed this information along to you, I decided to check it all out with my friend Taya Monfried who has a blog on cooking and going green! 

Her blog is "Me and My Green Bin" 
Please drop by and say hello!

I though she could shed a little light on the I asked her to do some research and to "Guest Blog" on the subject.  Here is what she has to say.........

"Last week Jeanette emailed me that she had decided to clear out her family's outdated vitamins.  She came across a website that advised her to "place them in hot water until they dissolve, add coffee grounds or kitty litter, place them in a ziplock bag and toss them in the garbage."  So in the spirit of curiosity and adventure, she followed the directions exactly and documented her little science experiment.

Sensing that there had to be a green alternative, she consulted her "Green Gal"--me. I immediately thought of composting them, so when I got done chuckling, I decided to check what the experts had to say.  Interestingly, in all my respected sources, there was zero information on the effect of vitamins added to compost.  Neither the comprehensive Rodale Book of Composting, nor The Berkeley Ecology Center, not my favorite guide, Composting for Dummies, had a word to say on the subject.

Finally, it was the Internet that provided some down to earth suggestions for vitamin disposal, and some novel ideas for their transformation - i.e. bead projects, noisemakers or a base for coloring paint.  Others discourage throwing them away at all, since it is debatable whether vitamin pills actually lose potency after their expiration date, which may be merely a gimmick used by manufacturers to sell more vitamins.

The Garden Web has a lively forum with opinions and suggestions on discarding and composting vitamins.  The participants maintain that since compost is, after all, a mélange of organic matter made up of kitchen scraps and lawn clippings, etc., why not add unwanted vitamins into the mix.  These little capsules seem to have all the requirements for good compost material--they're small, non-toxic, water soluble and full of nutrients.  Why wouldn't they decompose with the other stuff, eventually turning into humus, which will in turn lighten, aerate and naturally fertilize the soil in the garden.

An Ecology Center employee, told me that it's fine to experiment with home composting, but the City of Berkeley doesn't want vitamin pills in their green waste.  That means I can't dump unwanted multivitamins in my green bin!  So I thought I would make a cleansing scrub fortified with old vitamins that I found on the ehow website.


Grind vitamins up in a food processor and mix them with yogurt, avocado and lemon or lime juice for a gentle exfoliating mixture you can use on your face and body."

Taya's facial scrub looks much "prettier" than all of my photos of "slime" but I think we both enjoyed our little experiments and learned something in the process!  Thanks so much Taya!!

"My whole life has been spent waiting for an epiphany, a manifestation of God's presence, the kind of transcendent, magical experience that let's you see your place in the big picture. And that is what I had with my first compost heap." -- Bette Midler



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