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Composting 101

Written by: Kristina Madjuga, Aug 2020

Why compost and what exactly can you compost? These are the two main questions about this sustainable practice that allows you to cut back on food waste and helps to enrich the soil. Many people think that composting is complicated and messy, but fear not! We will guide you through the art of composting and debunk those misconceptions. 

 

What is composting? 

Compost is “organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow” (1). In the process of composting, the organic material gets broken down into material that can be used as a natural fertilizer in gardening or farming. Two things are required for this process to happen: microorganisms and oxygen. Luckily, these two things are already found in the air! All you need to do is to put the right materials in your compost bin. 

 

Why is compost important? 

There are many benefits to composting. 28% of the materials that are sent to landfill are made up of food waste and yard waste, both of which can be composted instead (1). By preventing these materials from being sent to landfills, we can decrease the production of greenhouse gasses. 

 

What can you compost? 

An easy way to remember whether something is compostable is to ask yourself about the origin of the product. If something came from the ground, it’s most likely compostable. Think fruits and veggies, coffee, eggshells, leaves, plant trimmings, coffee, tea bags and more! Another tip to remember: do not compost animal products! Your compost bin is not a good place for things like dairy products, butter, animal fat and meat (2).  

How to Compost at Home?


There are many ways to compost, but without getting too specific you can either choose to compost indoors or outdoors. For both options, you would require a compost bin where you should mix brown and green compost materials in equal parts. Your green material includes things like dead leaves, branches, and twigs. Whereas things like grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds are brown material. You can also just collect compostable materials at home and then transfer it to municipal composting services. 
Quick tip: If you hate the smell of your compost waste you can always store it in a small bowl that fits in your freezer!

Happy composting! 

References:
EPA. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2019). Composting At Home. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home.
Planet Natural. Composting Guru. (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/

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