After posting a story about composting, the most common reply I received from it was asking what the benefits were and how to begin.
I thought what better way to address commonly asked questions, than to write up a super short and simple explanation/tutorial here.
First and foremost- WHY?
Most people think that food waste mustn’t be harmful in landfills because it breaks down naturally.
Organic waste (food scraps, yard trimmings, etc) are broken down by bacteria in landfills, which in turn produces methane
Which, as we know, is a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
In fact, the waste doesn’t even really decompose- it mummifies!
Meaning, it doesn’t breakdown at ALL.
So, what can we do?
We can compost our food scraps and other natural waste at HOME.
This leads us to the next question- HOW?
First things first, get a compost bin for your kitchen.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy- just a bin that has a lid and holes for the waste to breathe.
We got one on Amazon for $15, but you can easily make your own if that’s your thing.
Next, anytime you have food scraps- put it in the compost bin.
I’d suggest keeping the bin accessible (we keep our’s on the counter).
I should probably stop and clarify here, when I say food, I mean PLANT FOOD.
This means, no meat, poultry, fish, or dairy byproducts.
Egg shells are okay.
If you’re an avid juicer like me, and you’re not using all of your juice pulp (I still haven’t figured out a way to make something yummy with all that celery pulp), then make sure to compost your juice pulp.
Once your bin is full, then you’ll take it out to a full-size garbage that’s ideally kept outside.
The waste from food scraps is GREEN WASTE.
Dump the green waste into the full size bin, and cover it with BROWN WASTE.
This can be anything from:
The point is to have equal amount GREEN WASTE and BROWN WASTE.
Think of the green waste as a wet material, and the brown waste as something dry.
It’s important that they’re in equal portions, because the brown waste is rich in carbon- which feed the organisms helping
to break down the green waste (rather than just mummify it).
Over a few weeks, the food scraps will turn into nutrient rich soil.
Turn the mixture over every week with a shovel to keep it mixed.
If it doesn’t look like it’s turning into soil- then you need to add more GREEN WASTE (moisture).
On the flip side, if it’s smelly and wet- then it needs more BROWN WASTE (dryness).
If it’s nice and balanced, it will turn into nutrient rich soil that is a great fertilizer to add to your garden or potted house plants.
If you don’t have a garden or potted plants, you can also look into local farms to donate your compost to.
What NOT to compost:
Meet, fish, egg (other than the shell), poultry byproducts (it will smell)
Dairy byproducts (it will smell)
Fat, grease, oils, lard
Coal or charcoal
Yard trimmings that have been treated with pesticides
Plants that have been infected with disease/insects
What to Compost?
Plant food scraps
Cardboard (toilet rolls, paper towel rolls, etc)
Hair and fur
Shredded newspaper (better if it’s black and white only)
Dryer and vacuum waste
Cotton and wool rags