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Simply Sustainable: Composting!

Composting is just one activity that can help to reduce the impact of wasted food. Regardless of where you live, composting be done at home! In the backyard or even right inside your home, or you can bring materials to be composted to local facilities. 

Food waste scraps can be saved and turned into compost, which is extremely beneficial to soils. Compost is essentially just a combination of organic waste like food waste, yard trimmings and manure that is left to "cure" for some time and then used to fertilize soils. 

Benefits of Composting: 

  1.  Helps to reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in landfills. Organic waste produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas that is more damaging then carbon dioxide. If this organic waste is composted instead, it does not have to end up in landfills.
  2. Reduces the need to use chemical fertilizer! Composting actually often produces a higher yield of crops -- and provides enough nourishment to the soil to reduce the need for other fertilizers.
  3. Healthy compost can be added to damaged environments, like deforested areas to help revitalize contaminated and lacking soils.
  4. Compost helps soil hold and absorb more water! 

If you want to compost at home there is a little bit of set up required. Either that be indoor or outdoor, your compost needs to "cure" for a bit before its ready to use. If you don't have the means to compost at home you can use online resources like this one to look up facilities where you can bring scarp material to be composted. 

How to set up composting at home:

If you have space in your yard for compositing, then you should consider starting your own compost pile!

What you need:

  • A dry and shady spot: preferably near a water source
  • Brown and green materials: collect them as you go to feed your compost 
  • Water: moisten the materials as they dry
  • Once established: mix in any green waste into the pile and keep the food and vegetable scraps under at least 10 inches of compost material 
  • Cover: cover the compost with a tarp or lid to keep it secure, give it water and mix the compost when needed. Once material at the bottom is dark and rich in color -- its ready to use! 

Starting your compost bin can be timely, anywhere between 2 months and 2 years depending on factors like location, size, weather, etc. Be patient and you will be rewarded with compost. 

Here is a breakdown of brown and green materials, your compost recipe:
You should have equal parts brown to green -- alternate your layers with different sized materials and moisten as needed. 

What you CAN compost:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps 
  • Eggshells and nut shells
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds/filters
  • Shredded newspaper and cardboard 
  • Yard trimmings and grass clippings 
  • House plants, hay, and straw
  • Leaves, sawdust, and wood chips 
  • Hair and fur

What you CANNOT compost:

  • Coal and charcoal ash
  • Dairy products 
  • Diseased plants 
  • Fats, grease, lard and oil
  • Meat or fish bones and scraps 
  • Pet waste 
  • Yard trimmings that could be contaminated with pesticides 

Tip: Freeze your food scraps in an airtight container -- take less trips to your bin or to a facility 

If you want to learn more about composting at home visit these sites: 

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/how-create-and-maintain-indoor-worm-composting-bin

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home#:~:text=off%20composting%20program.-,Benefits%20of%20Composting,a%20rich%20nutrient%2Dfilled%20material.

 

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