I'm working toward my Master Composter certification and am wondering if this means my own compost should be P.C. Politically correct compost would not have any half-decayed woolen socks in it.
Since 1993, my compost has been inspired by Vera Work, a social worker and Holocaust survivor, who offered a weekend workshop on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder during my last semester at Antioch University New England. Vera brought in a jar of compost that included a large rusty nail. The message to the traumatized client was clear. Everything eventually composts.
So for years, i threw old ripped woolen or cotton shirts or sweaters into my compost. Clothes that had no future even in a big yellow Planet Aid box. I thought decrepit clothes would instead aid the soil of my garden.
But then, digging into a 3-year-old compost bin, i'd shovel out a more or less whole green sweater matted with fibrous roots. Maybe it wasn't wool after all. A braided rug decayed into one or two foot lengths. I'd pull out the braids and snake them into the neighboring bin where i'd run into the blue strands a year or two later. A moccasin from Alaska lined with rabbit fur--i had worn holes in the sole at the heel and the ball of the foot, but the leather remained. A shred of a filmy cotton blouse my mother gave me for Christmas in 1977 now floats around my vegetable garden.
I've stopped throwing my ratty old clothes in the compost. Just last night, i tossed a hole-y wool sock into the trash.
Now when i pull what remains of a leather glove or a hotpad out of the compost, i put it in the trash bag that's headed for the dumpster. I wonder what archeologists a thousand years from now will make of a grimy, dirt laden, and ripped black cotton t-shirt?