For weeks I've been out knocking doors for Wompost, Aurora's new curbside compost pickup. I have knocked on 500 doors, where about 100 people have answered. One in three speaks Spanish (this is what I love about my neighborhood, by the way).
I've been "conversationally fluent" for 12 years now, after living abroad in Santiago, Chile as a Rotary foreign exchange student (great program, but that's another blog post). I don't usually struggle expressing myself. This one had me stumped. How do I explain curbside compost pickup in Spanish?!
The problem, I think, lies with English. We use the same word to describe the mix the kitchen scraps and weeds as we put into the pile, the action of composting, and the finished black gold we put into our gardens! I bet in most languages, these words are completely different.
My first attempt went something like this Nosotros recogemos la basura del jardin y de la cocina que se puede proccessar al abono. We pick up the trash from the garden and the kitchen which can be processed into fertilizer. QUE? Then I would follow up with examples, knowing I'd already lost them.
Today, I met an awesome guy from Mexico City who figured it out with me. He said he was a high school teacher of many things: social studies, science, and Spanish. Perfect! He explained composta is the word for compost. It's just not commonly used. Ready for the wording he gifted me?
Recolección de residuos biodegradables. O, recolección de residuos para composta.
So. Much. Better. Do you have a suggestion for how I can better explain Wompost in Spanish?