Options for composting at home
Now more and more people are waking up to the benefits of composting. As people become more environmentally conscious, they are looking for new ways to reduce the amount of waste they produce. One of the best ways to do this is composting. If you want to begin composting at your home, here are some things to consider.
How big of an impact does composting have?
Currently, food waste makes up 21.1% of all trash produced in the United State. The average household wastes 1/3rd of the food they purchase, amounting to 20 pounds per month or 250 pounds per year. Food waste that decomposes in landfills adds considerably to the greenhouse gas effect. Food decomposition releases methane, which is 28% more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. This is because garbage landfills are enclosed in airtight spaces. Food waste that is composted allows the food, in the presence of oxygen, to become a great nutrient in your garden, preventing it from releasing greenhouse gasses, vastly reducing your carbon footprint. To begin composting there are a number of things to consider. Check out these tips to get started composting and cutting down your household’s carbon footprint.
What you need
To begin composting, all you need is a bucket. Most compost services provide 5-gallon containers to use where you will discard your food scraps. These containers can be placed either indoors or outdoors, it’s up to you.
Once you have your container set up then all you have to do is begin disposing of your food waste into that instead of your regular trash can. Things that can be composted include banana peels, orange peels, eggshells, melon rinds, and most other plant-based products. Paper, coffee grounds, grass clippings, tea leaves/bags, stale bread, and corn husk/cobs can also be composted as well.
Find a compost provider
There are a number of different compost pick-up services throughout the country that operate in the same way trash and recycling pick-up do. Other services offer drop-off sites where you can bring your composted material. Farmer’s markets are often drop-off sites and many community gardens also offer accept compost drop-offs.
In many cases services offer the option to let you have your composted material returned to you for personal use in your gardens as nutrients for your landscaped plantings. Some also have an option to donate it to local community groups and food banks.
DIY: How to compost at home
If you choose not to go with a provider and want to know how to compost at home on your own, it’s a very simple process. If you have a garden, compost if the number one best supplement you can give it. For gardens, compost serves as a nutrient that fuels plant growth and rejuvenates depleted soil.
The first step to begin setting up your compost is to select where you want your compost pile. Once that’s determined then you want to start adding twigs and straw at the bottom. This will help with drainage and air out the pile.
Next you can begin disposing of your waste from your bin, into your pile. Be sure to alternate moist and dry materials in your pile. Food scraps and tea bags are examples of moist materials, while things like straw and leaves are examples of dry materials. Make sure to add green manure to your pile as well. This includes materials like clover, buckwheat, and grass clippings. This helps speed the compost process.
Always make sure you keep your compost pile moist. Add water periodically or let the rain take care of it if optimal. The two final things to do while maintaining your own compost pile are to cover it with wood, plastic sheeting, anything you have, and turning it. Turning your pile requires taking a shovel or a pitchfork every couple weeks and mix the pile around. This helps aerate the pile and speeds the process. Compost tumblers are also available to purchase if you don’t want to make your own.