Composting at home: The Do’s and Don’ts

Composting at Home: Dos & Don'tsComposting at home

Do you know the number one material sent to landfills? Food waste – over 31% of the total food supply per year. Often trapped underground by other various types of garbage like plastic, the waste is broken down *anaerobically and generates 20% of US greenhouse gas emissions.

A simple way to help reduce food waste ending up in landfills is by composting at home, where waste breaks down in the presence of oxygen leaving a nutrient rich fertilizer.  If you’re a gardener, there is no better way to see bigger blooms and better veggies than by making your own compost.  Here is a list of simple “do’s and don’ts” to get you started:

Do: Choose a bin or container that is right for you. A simple, well-ventilated crate placed in the sun can do the job nicely. For faster results you could also go with a composting tumbler that can be easily turned.

Don’t: Starting your compost pile with only a small amount of material won’t go so well.  The more waste material, the more hardworking bacteria will be present to do the job.

Do: Make sure your pile is a combination of brown and green plant matter and some moisture. “Brown” matter can be anything from shredded newspaper to wood chips and dry leaves. Grass clippings, last year’s garden or kitchen scraps are perfect for “green” matter. This variety will make nutrient rich compost your new plants will love.

Don’t: Try to avoid adding dairy, meat or fish to any outdoor compost piles or you’ll most likely end up with unwanted critters.

Do: Remember to keep your compost moist – especially in the summer. The bacteria needs the moisture to keep the process moving along.

Don’t: Try not to forget to rotate your compost every so often with a pitchfork or compost aerator in order to mix the contents, spread the bacteria around and provide more oxygen.

At the end of the day even beginner composters can end up with a finished product of dark, crumbly, nutrient rich soil in just a few short months. Go ahead and give it a try!

*Renergy uses anaerobic digestion in a controlled environment to capture methane and turn it into a sustainable source for electricity.

Sources:

http://www.endfoodwastenow.org/

http://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/

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Cari Oberfield