One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Soil….Composting 101

Happy August everyone (omg how is it August?!?). Summer is flying by wayyy too fast, and has turned out to be way busier than expected for both Carianne and I. For example, I currently have two jobs-no big deal, except they’re in two different states…I guess I just really wanted to continue my streak of not being in one state for more than four days in a row for the entirety of the summer.

That aside, however, I have managed to meet one of my summer goals! I finally made my own compost bin! Composting is a great use for all your food scraps to prevent them from going in a land fill, and in turn create something else with them. Compost is essentially the breakdown of organic plant matter that will eventually turn into nutrient-rich soil you can use in your garden, or donate to a friend (who will hopefully share the yummy crops with you in exchange).

I’ve been investigating into how I could make one at our apartment that was easy, portable and wasn’t unsightly for our neighbors. After researching all winter (jumped the gun on that one a bit-but hey I had to think warm thoughts to make it through the Antarctic winter we had) I finally decided that a trash bin composter was the best way to go. In my research aka Google searches I came across this (slightly cheesy) super easy and straight forward video that I used to construct my own.  As a side note, I didn’t drill holes in the lid or very bottom and mine is not up on cinder blocks, mostly because I don’t  own any and am too broke from my road trip to buy some.

My base layer consisted of the remnants of an old Christmas wreath, and fresh grass clippings.  My neighbors were probably laughing at me from their windows as I squatted around the yard scooping up grass, but I just laughed at the image of myself and continued on my merry way.

My base layer consisted of the remnants of an old Christmas wreath, and fresh grass clippings. My neighbors were probably laughing at me from their windows as I squatted around the yard scooping up grass, but I just laughed at the image of myself and continued on my merry way.

 

Don’t have a power tool? No problem, neither do I! But I did know three people close by that had them on hand, and you probably do too if you ask around. I promise it sounds scary than it is- just watch those fingers!

IMG_3740

 

Dos and Don’ts of Composting:

Dos:
Veggie Waste
Grain-based foods including old bread, pasta, rice, etc.
Black and white news paper-shredded (not color print because of a wax coating used that usually prevents/slows the breakdown)
Coffee grounds and filter or tea bags (minus the staples)
Egg Shells (crushed)
Yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, etc)
Napkins/papertowels/printer paper shreds

Don’ts:
Oils and other fats or oil-saturated foods
Dairy
Meat
Animal waste (clean cat litter is okay)
Citrus- a little is okay but avoid excessive citrus as it can alter the pH of the compost

It’s a good idea to chop things up into small pieces to compost- I read somewhere that someone actually chops their compost in a blender first to help it breakdown more quickly!

I’m Learning Right There With You
As this is still new to me, I haven’t perfected things yet, but right now my roommate and I keep a container under our kitchen island where we do all of our chopping to place our scraps. Depending on how much cooking we’re doing it usually needs to be emptied every other day. Our compost bin is parked about 20 feet outside our back door, so it’s no big deal to bring it out there. If you want to keep yours further from your house, I would suggest having one bin inside for quick cooking scrap placement, and a larger 5-gallon bucket with a lid out your back door for fewer trips. While they make special containers you can buy that have lids with charcoal and such to help reduce odors, it’s cheap an easy just to use what you have laying around.  You can even keep food scraps in the fridge or freezer to ensure there are no odors-although we don’t have an issue with odors as long as we take it out every few days!

Status Update
It’s been about a week since I started mine and so far so good! Every time I open it there are flies present (if you always cover your food scraps with brown material this should help with the flies), but I’m surprised by the lack of unpleasant odors.

I hope this quick post and video link are helpful to you all! I’ll be sure to keep you posted during the winter months to see how things go, as the breakdown will occur much more slowly in the cooler temperatures.

Did You Know?!?

According to worldfooddayusa.org,

“In the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month” and that “organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions”….that’s crazy!!!  Imagine how much of a difference you can make just by composting in your household!  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but every effort counts 🙂

Peas and Love and Happy Composting ❤ 

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One thought on “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Soil….Composting 101

  1. Pingback: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Soil….Composting 101 |sweetongreens | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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