Composting is a great way to recycle food scraps and yard trimmings to keep them from piling up at landfills and adding to human waste and carbon emissions. Plus, composting is a great idea if you’re already into gardening, as it adds nutrient rich material back into the earth, and helps your plants grow healthy! Composting is super easy when done right. If you’re not sure where to start, or are looking for some pointers, here is our easy guide on how to compost!
Get a Compost Bin
Depending on how much space you have and where you’re going to compost, you’ll want to figure out what kind of compost bin you should keep. We suggest keeping it outdoors in a well ventilated, shaded area, like a corner of a standard backyard, or off to the side by the shed. There should be access to water as well. There’s plenty of different bins that you can buy with different looks and features and they can range in price. One of our favorites is Envirocycle’s Compost Bin and Compost Tea Maker that easily turns so you don’t have to manually flip it. You can also DIY it with a cheap storage tub and some elbow grease! If you live in an apartment or don’t have the ability to get a large compost bin, we recommend a smaller compost bin with a carbon filter to keep from smelling indoors. We love this one by Bamboozle Housewares.
Create the Base
Next, you’re going to want to set up your compost bin. Create your base by filling it about 1/8th -1/4th of the way full with “brown matter” which includes dry leaves, shredded newspaper, torn up cardboard, twigs/sticks, etc. Then add a layer of dirt or garden soil in about the same amount as the base.
Fill It Up
Now that your compost bin is ready to go, you can start throwing in your “green matter” (see below for what you can compost) and watching the magic happen! Be sure when you to keep it moist, but not moist enough that it gets soggy. You can add water before mixing in an outdoor composter, or spray an indoor one with a spray bottle of water. If you notice that your compost is getting too wet, just add more dry brown matter and turn. You should add green and brown matter at about a 1: 2 ratio. To speed up the process, rip, cut, chop, or break your compost materials into smaller pieces. Turn it often with a shovel or pitchfork to keep it oxygenated for decomposing.
What You Can and Can’t Compost
You have to be careful what you put into your compost bin. Many things can’t and shouldn’t be composted, as it could be harmful and ruin the compost or cause some very smelly issues that attract rodents and bugs.
- Fruit & Vegtable Scraps (No Onions , Citrus Peels, or Grocery Labels)
- Egg Shells (No Eggs)
- Coffee Grounds & Filters
- Yard/Garden Trimmings
- Dryer & Vacuum Cleaner Lint
- Hair and/or pet fur
- Paper, Newspaper & Cardboard
- Compostable products like Ibambo Bamboo Straws and Cutlery and Packaging
DO NOT COMPOST:
- Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt)
- Diseased or insect-ridden plants
- Fats, grease, lard, or oils
- Meat or fish bones and scraps*
- Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)
- Coal or charcoal ash
- Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
- Black Walnut Tree Clippings
Use Your Compost
When done properly, your compost should be ready in the matter of a few months! When is it a dark rich brown color, you can sprinkle it around your plants and watch as they take in all those nutrients. Keep about 1/4 of the compost in the bin if you want to continue the composting process!
If you have any questions regarding composting, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org