Composting household wastes is a great way individuals can make a difference. By choosing to compost our kitchen and yard wastes and using that compost in our yards:
1. We send less waste to landfills. Organic wastes in landfills take up huge amounts of limited space and generate methane, a greenhouse gas 25x more powerful than carbon dioxide, pound for pound. We also use less energy because less wastes being carried to landfills mean fewer waste-carrying vehicles on the road.
2. We use less water and less fertilizer. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “compost improves the soil’s moisture management, regulates the soil’s pH, provides nutrients on a slow-release basis and suppresses certain plant diseases. In addition, it can bind and degrade some pollutants in the plant’s growing environment and help control erosion.” Fertilizer and pesticides contribute significantly to water pollution problems and by reducing or eliminating these, we are one step closer to healthy waters.
3. We end up with healthier gardens, yards and even houseplants.
|HOW TO START A COMPOST PILE
- Choose a site with good drainage and not right next to your house. Build or buy a bin with no bottom or just make a heap.
- Place straw or twigs, if available, on the bottom to increase aeration.
- Add waste in layers, alternating brown wastes like dry leaves, straw, paper towels, cardboard, newspaper, sawdust with green wastes like fruit and vegetable wastes, eggshells, coffee grounds, sea weed, manure and tea bags.
- Ideally, the ratio should be about two thirds brown wastes (carbon) to one part green wastes (nitrogen), which means you may need to make a conscious effort to add in cardboard and paper and dry leaves and other brown, carbon sources to the pile on a regular basis.
- Keep the compost moist by watering or allowing rain to do the job.
- Cover the bin or pile to keep it moist and warm.
- Aerate by turning the pile with a pitchfork or shovel every week or two.
- DO NOT COMPOST: meat, oils/fats, bones, dairy products, peanut butter, dog or cat manure, vines, weeds that have gone to seed.