Composting is a great way to give back to Mother Nature while also minimizing our waste impact in our landfills. And of course, composting can be done anytime of the year, however, we thought it would be great to share some tips on composting as the weather is warm and sunny during these long summer days.
Just imagine the juiciest watermelon on a hot summer day. You then put the watermelon rinds in your compost pile, which turns into a nutrient-rich soil that you can use to grow more watermelon!
Image by: Ron Lach
How To Start Composting
Did you know that the average US household produces 600+ pounds of organic trash per year, but most of that is still placed in landfills? Actually, 60% of our landfills are full of organic matter. This might sound like a good thing, however, when organic matter is thrown into a landfill, they never get broken down due to the lack of aeration that is required. It's called anaerobic decomposition, and all of that oxygen deprived organic matter now releases methane into our atmosphere.
For those of you who may not have access to a yard, there are still ways to compost. Check if your city has a community garden you can join. Often times, you can bring your scraps to their compost plots. Another place to check is your local farmer's markets. Lastly, check with any local businesses or local neighborhoods that might take scraps.
Image by: Maria Naichenko
Items You Can Compost
Here is a simple guideline of what you can compost:
- Organic matter, egg shells, nut shells, coffee grounds, tea, non-plastic tea bags, fruit and veggie peels, kitchen scraps, toilet paper cores, sawdust, wood ashes, hay or straw, leaves, unbleached paper towels and napkins, grass clippings, flowers, plant matter, cereal boxes, egg cartons, pizza boxes, paper bags, news print, vacuum dust.
Items You Cannot Compost
Here is a guideline of what NOT to put in your compost:
- bleached or laminated paper products, materials sprayed with pesticide, coffee cups, gloss paper, cat litter.
- meat, fish, bones, dairy, grease & oil are not suitable for home composting bins, however municipal composting will accept these items. Always check with your city for the most up to date information.
Types of Composting Bins
Having a scrap bin in the kitchen to help separate organic matter from trash is a great first step. Simple Human makes a nice little bin that attaches to your main trash bin via magnets. Food52 has a bamboo made bin that sits nicely on your countertops. Begin by adding these scraps to your yard waste bin if your city collects yard waste weekly.
The next step, if you have the yard space, is invest in a bin. Bokashi Living makes a 2-bin system that is a great starter kit composting.
Goplush makes a large 115-gallon Garden Waste Bin. If you prefer keeping things off the ground, there are tumblers you can purchase. You can also invest in a worm bin, great for families with kids!
When it comes to composting, just be sure to keep the contents balanced between carbon and nitrogen, at about 50/50 each.
Carbon comes from paper, dried leaves, cardboard, grass cuttings, etc.
Nitrogen comes from food scraps like carrot peels, apple cores, etc.
In about 2 weeks time, the bottom of the compost pile should be ready to mixed into your soil as fertilizer.
Image by: Rodnae Prod
The Most Important Thing...
If anything, we'd like you to walk away from this knowing just how important it is to compost. It is the single most important act a human can do to reduce their carbon footprint, also reducing the amount of trash you throw away each week. Let's all do our part and try to be just a little bit better than we were before. A little bit more environmentally conscious. A little bit more kind. A little bit more empathy. A little bit more compassion for humanity.