What do you do with your vegetable scraps? What about your banana peels, coffee grounds, or egg shells? Whether you have a garden or not, you can turn that everyday kitchen garbage into compost.
Compost is nature’s recycling program. Materials decompose and turn into extremely fertile and rich soil. You can use the compost around your plants, in your houseplants, and of course you can add it to your lawn or garden. While adding composting to your lifestyle does require adopting a few new habits, it’s actually pretty easy to incorporate into the way you live.
Step One: Your Containers
You’ll need two containers. You’ll need a composting bin or area outside. You’ll also need something to store your kitchen waste in. Outdoors there are different types of bins to consider. Some have a handle on them so you can turn the bin and mix your compost. Others allow you to pop off the top. You mix by hand using a rake or shovel.
Indoors you want to choose a ceramic or stainless steel container. You’ll want it to have a lid.
Step Two: Start Your Compost
Outside you’ll want to position your compost bin in an area where it will be out of your way but convenient. Start your compost with a layer of brown material. Brown material is anything that is dry like twigs, dry leaves, straw, or dried grass. You’ll want this material to be a few inches thick. Inside, you can start collecting your kitchen waste.
In general, don’t compost any meat, grease, or material that has animal waste on it. You can compost cardboard, fruits and vegetables, egg shells, coffee and tea grounds, and newspapers. If you aren’t sure, play it safe and don’t add it to your compost.
A word of warning: if you add seeds to your compost, for example apple or tomato seeds, don’t be surprised to find plants growing in your compost, or later in your yard where you’ve placed the compost.
When your indoor container is full, add it to your outdoor compost bin and mix it up.
Step Three: Evaluate and Maintain
Your compost needs to stay moist but not soaking. If it gets too wet, it will mold. If it’s too dry, nothing will happen. You can add water to your compost if it’s looking dry. Stir your compost every couple of weeks. Turning or stirring it aerates it, which facilitates decomposition.
Yard and food waste make up more than 30% of the waste in our landfills. When you compost your kitchen and yard trimmings, you’re helping to divert that waste from the landfill. It’s a great way to live a more sustainable life.
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