You may have heard of composting before, in fact, you almost certainly have at one point in your life. But even though most people know about it, few people know what it actually is, and even less do it. That is a shame, because composting is an excellent way to recycle, save money, and help the environment, and best of all, it is practically free to do!
Composting is a natural way to recycle certain food and yard products.
It is also an opportunity for people to help the environment and enrich the soil for plants to grow.
The Environmental Protection Agency tells us that food scraps and yard waste make up more than 28% of the garbage in landfills and rubbish combustion facilities.
That is almost ONE THIRD of ALL the rubbish!
According to the Environment Protection Agency, composting reduces methane, which is a
greenhouse gas that comes from landfills, reduces or eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, promotes higher crop yield for farmers, helps restore forests, wetlands, and habitats by improving poor quality soil, and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide.
It is incredible how just letting some worms and critters get to your leftovers (in a safe space of course) can benefit the earth and you in so many different ways.
Let's talk about how to do it. The ingredients for compost are quite simple, green matter, brown matter, moisture, and oxygen. Two of these, moisture and oxygen we already don’t really have to worry about, as long as you are doing it outside (hopefully).
When it comes to green matter, we typically mean things that are high in nitrogen, like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and filters (paper), manure from herbivores (plant eaters, and only if you have access to it, not at all necessary), wheat based things like cereals and bread, cooked rice and pasta, herbs and spices, nuts and nutshells and crushed eggshells (not yokes).
All of these things will boost the nitrogen levels of your compost. Brown matter are carbon rich materials, such as:
- dead leaves
- hay and straw
- tree branches and twigs
- wood chips and sawdust(avoid ashes from commercial fire logs or charcoal briquettes)
- fireplace ashes
- shredded newspaper
- flower clippings
- loose leaf tea and natural tea bags
- dryer lint from cotton fabric
As you can see, there is quite the list of things you can put into your compost to help it flourish, however, there are some things to avoid:
- meat, bones, fat and skin from animals
- yoghurt, milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products
- egg yolks and whites
- manure from meat eating animals
- greasy foods or oils
- treated wood or sawdust
- and diseased plants
These are some of the things not to put into your compost, but this is in no way a comprehensive guide on composting. If you have these things lying around, and are throwing out compostable material, we encourage you to have a look at the possibility of composting, as it really helps make the world a better place.