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How to Compost at Home

What is home composting?


Composting is a process that speeds up the decay of your kitchen scraps and turns them into fertilizer.


So much of our food waste takes up space in our landfills, doesn’t decompose properly, and releases a strong greenhouse gas called methane which can trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.


Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30% of what we throw away, and could be composted instead.


So we recommend home composting as it can make a big impact on a local and global scale.


When you take your kitchen scraps and other household waste items and compost them in a healthy environment, they turn into a wonderfully rich soil that you can use as fertilizer in your home garden. If you don’t have a home garden, you can donate your compost-turned-to-soil to a family member, friend, local co-op or community garden!



What You Can Compost:

Vegetables

Fruit

Herbs

Nut shells

Coffee grounds

Shredded newspaper

Cardboard

Paper

Yard trimmings

Sawdust

Hair and fur


What Not to Compost

Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt), eggs, meat or fish bones or scraps, fats/grease/lard/oils, because they can create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies.


Diseased or insect-ridden plants because they might survive in your compost and can be transferred back to other plants when your compost-turned-to-soil is used as fertilizer for other plants.


Pet waste because they might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans.


Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides because they might kill beneficial composting organisms.


For coffee filters and tea bags, it depends on the company. They might contain non-compostable plastic. We suggest contacting the company directly to find out if their filters or tea bags are able to compost in a home compost bin. Otherwise, the best thing you can do is make the switch to loose-leaf zero-waste tea and coffee companies instead!


If your compost is new, then egg shells, onions, garlic, and citrus peels may not break down easily. Instead, add citrus peels to homemade cleaning solutions! Onion peels you can put in broths! And you can boil, bake, and blend your eggshells and eat them.


For compostable or biodegradable plastics, it depends on the brand. Some might not compost well in a home compost bin. We recommend contacting the company directly and asking if the product can compost in a home compost bin.


Before we get into how to compost at home, if you aren’t quite ready to start, you can contact your city to see if they offer composting, or check with a community garden or co-op that might take your kitchen scraps.


If you’re ready to dive in, then here’s how you can compost at home.



How To Compost In Your Backyard

Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin.

Add brown (soil, leaves) and green materials (fruit and vegetable scraps), making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded).

Mix grass clippings and green waste in and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material.

You also have the option to cover the top of your compost with a tarp to keep it moist. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use as fertilizer!


How to Compost Indoors

If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy at a local hardware or gardening store, online, or make yourself, depending on your budget.


If you have a tight budget, you can try using a bucket you already have that has a tight lid!


First, we recommend freezing your fruit and vegetable scraps in an eco-friendly reusable freezer bag or freezer-safe jars. Once frozen, pop them into a blender or food processor to grind them down.


If you don’t grind your items down beforehand, and instead put large peels or scraps in your compost, it may take much longer to decompose. So freezing and then grinding them down in a blender or food processor will break them down to a smaller size, which will help them decompose more quickly in your compost.


Then grab your compost bin.

Add a layer of soil to the bottom. You can use soil from your garden, a family member, friend, or neighbor, or buy some from your local store.

Then add a layer about an inch or two thick of your ground food scraps on top of the soil.

Then add another layer of soil, and alternate a layer of soil with a layer of your ground food scraps.

Every couple of days, stir your compost.

After a couple of weeks, your compost

should turn into a fertilizer, ready to use in your garden.


If you don’t have a garden, you can donate it to your family, friend, neighbor, or local co-op or garden.


We hope you enjoyed this post and are excited for your home composting journey to come!




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