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Composting: How You Can Turn Your Trash Can Into Your Favorite Garden

August 28, 2019 4 min read

Composting Dirt Hands

As a company that focuses on sustainability, we mention frequently about biodegradation and composting.

Composting..what is it?

What a great question.

Composting is, essentially, one of the most environmentally friendly things you could do. It’s almost like a landfill, but guaranteed 1,000 times better than a landfill. Why? It’s your own trashcan-turned-garden.

According to the EPA, “compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow.” So you throw away your food scraps into this bin of soil and not only will it break down your waste, but it will help plants grow.

But there’s more to composting than just soil, water, and food scraps. It’s an incredible way to minimize CO2 emissions long term and to improve your quality of life for future generations. Check out below what all comes with composting and how you can get your head start on being a composter.

How to Compost

There are two kinds of composting methods - backyard and indoor. Don’t worry, it’s easy as one, two, tree.

Outdoor

Get a Bin

Before you get your ingredients, you need your equipment. For composting development, make sure you have a bin large enough to hold soil, dry materials, green waste, water, and kitchen scraps. After that, obtain a large lid to hold in all the ingredients and to protect the compost.

Start with Soil

This is the base of your compost. It also allows worms, and other microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.

Lay Natural Materials

Lay down straw, grass and other natural elements, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile.

Add Layers

The next step is to add layers of compostable material. Layers are what make a compost a compost. Alternate moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, weeds, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. Make sure that if you use wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers or they will clump and break down slowly. Brown materials and green materials are also essential to these layers. Brown materials (carbon-rich) are straw and wood, while green materials (nitrogen-rich) are grass clippings and kitchen scraps. Popular kitchen scraps include fruits and vegetables, eggshells, and nutshells.

Add Manure

Manure is the mitochondria of the compost bin. It helps activate the compost pile and keeps the process going. Use green manure (clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings) for your compost bin.

Keep it Moist

Water and rain every so often should do the trick! It’s vital during hot and sunny days, especially, to prevent a dry out and depleted soil.

Cover

To preserve the composting process, you need to cover your container or bin. Using items such as wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps of the sort are great elements to help protect your compost. Covering retains heat and moisture, while also preventing the compost from being over-moisturized. A moist compost is a happy compost!

Turn

Lastly, make sure you turn the compost every couple of weeks! This will help bring air into the pile. Oxygen is required for composting, and turning brings in oxygen. You can skip this step if you have a ready supply of coarse material like straw. You can also help aerate the compost pile by mixing in new materials rather than adding in layers.

Indoor

Find a bin with a tight-fitting lid

To have an indoor compost, you first need a composting bin and a lid! The best to use is one made of stainless steel so no smells will be absorbed while it decomposes.

Line bin with bags

Since composting involves biodegradation, it’s important to buy biodegradable bags so the bag can be compatible with the decomposing!

Store full compost bags in your freezer.

This is important if you don’t want a smelly inside. Replacing bags prevent odor when your bin is full, so when your bin reaches full capacity, take the full bag and put it in the freezer. It makes it easy for transport, eliminate odor, half decomposition, and buy you time if you can’t get rid of the bag right away.

Find a local collection service or drop-off location.

If you don’t have an outside area to compost your kitchen scraps, check your local community to see if they offer such a place! The rules all depend on where you live so make sure you double check and do your research before you start donating your scraps.

Use outdoor instructions

Having an indoor compost is the same as an outdoor one! Just follow the outdoor compost instructions above and get to composting!

Source: Good House Keeping

Composting Infographic by Evergreen promotions.

What to Put in Your Compost

Here are the best natural materials to put in your compost.

  • Grass clippings
  • Tree leaves
  • Vegetable food scraps (coffee grounds, lettuce, potato peels, banana peels, avocado skins, etc.)
  • Black and white newspaper
  • Printer paper
  • Most disease-free yard waste
  • Cardboard
  • Vegetarian animal manure (e.g. cows, horses, rabbits, hamsters, etc.)
  • Wood shavings or sawdust

Source: Gardening Know How

Benefits of Composting

What do you get from composting?

  1. Cuts down on your waste for a plastic-free environmental impact.
  2. Prevents more trash added to landfills.
  3. Reduces carbon footprint, such as greenhouse gases, for energy efficiency.
  4. Aids in recycling.
  5. Encourages organic matter use and enriches the soil
  6. Reduces fertilizer use.
  7. It’s cost effective!
  8. Protects the climate by storing carbon and reducing harmful gases like methane emissions.
  9. Increases biodiversity among the environment.

Source: Edison Nation

Source: EPA

Source: Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Grass and Soil is part of composting.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Composting is easy to maintain, but here are some common tips to avoid!

  • Don’t choose a small bin. It’s better to start out big than use a bin that’s too small and compromise your compost.
  • Don’t forget to moist! And turn your compost! And mix scraps!
  • Don’t depend on one material. Plants love variety; different nutrients from different scraps can go a long way. It’s all about a healthy balance.
  • Don’t over-stress. This is a journey and not an equation. What works will work, and what won’t, won’t.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the ins and outs of composting, you’re officially a composter! Remember to keep turning and mixing, and don’t forget to keep it moist. The best part of composting is that it can happen anywhere and it costs zero dollars to be sustainable. We sell biodegradable products so make sure to pick up a biodegradable pen or two to go with your compost.


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