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Composting: How To

posted Apr 14, 2017, 10:16 AM by
Did you know that food scraps and yard waste make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away? That’s right! These materials will take up space in landfills and release methane, a greenhouse gas believed to be one of the contributors to the drastic changes in our climate. So what can you do to help? You can compost! We’ll show you how, below.

What is Compost?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow.

What is Composting?

Composting is mixing waste materials so that they decompose. Once these materials are mixed together, microbes in the soil breakdown the waste, turning it into the nutrient-rich material that helps plants grow.

How to Compost?

Composting requires three basic ingredients: browns, greens and water. Browns are materials such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs and greens are materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps and coffee grounds.

According to the EPA, the brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the green materials provide nitrogen, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter.

You want to keep the ratio of your pile roughly 3 parts browns to 1 part greens. Don’t drench your compost pile; rather you want it moist but not too wet. Turning your compost from time to time also speeds up the breakdown process and reduces odors. You know your compost is done when the material is dark and has no food or waste remnants in it.

What not to Compost

Some things shouldn’t go into your compost pile, they are: metal, glass, coal or charcoal ash, diseased or insect-ridden plants, black walnut tree leaves and twigs, pet waste, bones, meat, fats, oils, dairy products and eggs (although egg shells are okay), and yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides.

There you have it! If you’re eager to learn more visit the EPA’s website here. If you don’t have a backyard or don’t want to keep a compost pile yourself, think about stashing your food scraps in a container such as the Full Circle Slate Odor-Free Compost Collector and taking them down to your local composter, which you can find here.