Food waste is an increasingly major problem, taking up more and more precious space in our landfills and exacerbating other ecological problems. Fortunately, there are small steps that all of us can take to minimize our contributions to food waste. One of the most basic yet impactful actions we can take is to start a compost pile. This is an especially good option for those who don't live in an area where compost pickup is available.
Not only does a compost pile provide an eco-friendly alternative to dumping out your organic waste, but it can also help you cultivate good, fruitful soil for your lawn or garden. For those who have never tried their hand at composting before, here are a few tips to get started.
1) Buy a small compost bin.
There are plenty of big, fancy compost barrels on the market, but for first timers, we recommend a nice, compact bin that you can keep close to your kitchen.
2) Pick the right spot.
We recommend leaving your compost bin or heap on a level, well-drained spot, ensuring any excess water is easily drained away. Note that this also makes your bin more accessible to worms… and that's a good thing!
3) Compost the right things.
One of the great things about composting is that you don’t actually have to do much. The worms will do it for you, in conjunction with other natural processes. Your main task is to be sure you’re adding the right things to your compost pile.
● The best things to add to your compost pile include fruit waste, vegetable peelings, plant prunings, grass clippings, and tea bags. Not only are these items quick to break down, but they supply moisture and nitrogen, which are important for the composting process.
● Cardboard egg cartons and fallen leaves can also be tossed in. Though they take longer to break down, they provide lots of great carbon and fiber.
● Crushed eggshells can be composted, too, adding critical nutrients to your composting process.
4) Don’t compost the wrong things.
Certain kinds of waste can actually impede the natural processes associated with composting. Here’s what not to compost:
● Meat products
● Dairy products
● Diseased plants
● Dog or cat waste
Composting any of these items will produce unwanted odors and also attract animals and other pests.
Also remember that plastic, metal, and glass are not suitable for composting, but rather should be recycled separately.
5) Keep your compost pile balanced.
To ensure the biological processes all work the way you want them to, you need to strike the right balance between “green” and “brown” ingredients. If your compost is too wet, toss in more brown stuff; if it’s too dry, go for more greens. Toss in some scrunched-up cardboard to add natural air pockets. Mixing your compost pile can also be productive. (Indeed, regularly turning your compost pile is the best thing you can do to speed up your processes.)
6) Know when it’s ready.
When your compost pile has a dark brown, almost black layer to it, that’s how you know it’s ready to be removed and added to your landscaping soil.
Starting a compost pile is a straightforward way for anyone to minimize their organic waste levels. It’s something we’re passionate about here at WasteXperts. With any other questions about making eco-friendly choices, reach out to us directly.