One of the most important things we can do for our planet is to reduce the amount of waste we produce. A simple way to do that is to repurpose some of the organic products we purchase by creating compost.
Compost is an amazing way to encourage healthy growth of your plants at home while reducing waste by a significant amount. According to the epa.gov website: “Food scraps and yard waste currently make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead.”
Composting helps our planet by preventing these scraps from filling up landfills and releasing methane.
The Basics of Composting. It’s Easy!
Composting may sound like an intense process, and while it does take some time getting started, it’s easier than you may think.
Composting always starts with the basics. Here are the 3 types of waste you need:
- Browns: dead leaves, branches, twigs
- Greens: grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, coffee grounds
It’s important to keep in mind that your compost should have equal parts browns and greens that vary in size by layer.
What can I compost?
|Fruits||Vegetables||Eggshells||Coffee grounds and filters||Tea bags|
|Nut shells||Shredded newspaper||Cardboard||Paper||Yard trimmings|
|Grass clippings||Houseplants||Hay and straw||Leaves||Sawdust|
|Wood chips||Cotton/wool rags||Dryer/vacuum lint||Hair and fur||Fireplace ashes|
What can’t I compost?
|Black walnut tree leaves or twigs.||Coal or charcoal ash||Dairy (butter, milk, cheese, etc.)||Disease/Insect infested plants|
|Why? Releases substances that could harm plants.||Why? Could contain substances harmful to plants.||Why? Can create foul smells and attract pests.||Why? The diseases or insects could have survived, contaminating your compost.|
|Fats, grease, lard, some oils.||Meat or fish bones/scraps.||Pet waste||Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides.|
|Why? Can create foul odors and attract pests.||Why? Can create foul odors and attract pests.||Why? Could contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans.||Why? Could kill beneficial organisms,|
The green waste materials do their part by supplying nitrogen, while brown waste supplies carbon. The water is the agent that breaks it all down into the final product.
Get the kids involved!
Getting your children involved is one of the most rewarding parts of composting at home. Not only does this experience provide invaluable knowledge that will serve our future generations well, it provides some of the best memory-making time you’ll ever experience in your life.
Start composting today
Whether you’re backyard composting or indoor composting, keep these tips in mind for your do-it-yourself project.
- Make sure the area is in a shady, dry spot, preferably close to a water source. You’ll be needing it!
- Add in your browns and greens as they are collected, breaking down larger pieces.
- Once your compost is well established, feel free to mix in grass clippings and green waste. Bury the waste from fruits and vegetables under at least 10 inches of your compost.
- Depending on where you live, it might be a good idea to cover your compost pile with a tarp to keep it moist.
- When the bottom of your compost pile has a color that would be considered dark and rich, your compost is ready to be used. This can take anywhere from two months to two years. Source.
- If you don’t have enough room indoors for a composting pile, check out your local hardware or garden supply store for a special bin that is used specifically for composting indoors.
Pretty soon you’ll be hooked on DIY composting, and your garden will be thanking you for your efforts. You may not be able to see this now, but the planet will thank you.
Don’t throw away those scraps, start your composting adventure today!