Compost is simply the term for what organic material becomes after it decomposes. This organic material is perfect for adding to gardens or farms to help plants grow as it mirrors a natural process. There are many reasons that people start composting, but some of the biggest are reducing environmental impact, creating natural fertilizer, and improving soil for a healthier garden. The yield from a home compost can provide a much richer and nutrient-packed soil than a store-bought fertilizer.
Compost helps us reduce our carbon footprint by reducing the amount we throw away to be taken to landfills. Organic waste from our yards and kitchens makes up over 30% of what we throw away. We can easily compost this material for an opportunity to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
When starting your home composting project, you can begin to consider three types of waste when you are deciding what to compost.
- Browns – Brown materials will mostly be made up of yard waste like branches, dead leaves, sawdust, and others.
- Greens – Greens will include materials like lawn clippings, rotten veggies, old fruit, coffee grounds, and tea bags.
- Water – You need the right amount of moisture content for healthy compost development. Ensure that your pile doesn’t become too dry or overly wet.
You should seek to have around an equal distribution of brown and green organic material with healthy water content. Your compost project should have carbon provided from the brown material and nitrogen from the greens. Moisture will help in breaking down all compounds.
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Things That Are Great to Compost
Here are some common household wastes that are fantastic additions to compost piles. Think twice before throwing the following items in your trash bin or recycling!
- Old fruit or cores
- Coffee grounds
- Coffee filters
- Yard trimmings
- Lawn clippings
- Dead houseplants
- Hay or straw
- Dead leaves
- Wood chips
- Hair or fur
- Fireplace ashes
Things You Should Not Compost
- Anything treated with pesticides – Items treated with chemical pesticides may kill off beneficial composting organisms.
- Ash from coal or charcoal – Coal or charcoal waste commonly found from barbeques may contain substances harmful to plants.
- Dairy products and eggs – Waste from these items will create a terrible odor and attract pests. Eggshells are completely fine, but no yolks or whites.
- Diseased plants – Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
- Fats, grease, or oil – These also can create bad odors and attract pests like rodents and flies
- Meat or Fish – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
- Pet waste – You will not want to compost any feces from your dog, cat, or other pets as they may contain parasites or viruses that could be harmful to people.
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Main Benefits of Composting
Composting can be a fun project that will help you become a more sustainable homeowner!
- Composting enriches the soil and helps maintain healthy moisture levels. It also promotes healthy soil by combating plant diseases and pests.
- Removes the need for store-bought or chemical fertilizers. You can also save a lot of money by composting if you are growing your own garden or small farm.
- Produces healthy and natural bacteria and fungus that assist in breaking organic matter down during decomposition.
- It helps to reduce methane emissions in landfills and removes transportation and fuel emissions. It reduces the impact that chemical fertilizers have when they leak into the water system. An estimated quarter of all waste in landfills could be composted. This would save 60 million tons from landfills every year.
- Composting is almost effortless! All you need to do is have a container in your kitchen to take out to your compost bin every day.
- There have never been more attractive options for compost bins and pales. Your compost heap doesn’t have to be an unsightly mess in the corner of your yard! There are a huge number of resources for building a chic modern compost bin that will make your yard look even better.
- Composting is extremely affordable. It only costs a few dollars tops to get a starting enclosure to house your compost pile.
How to Get Started Composting
1) Set up your composting area – Unfortunately, you will probably need a yard to start composting unless you have access to a community garden or a friendly neighbors compost pile! Your compost station should be within reach of a hose and ideally not too far of a walk from the house for easy access. You can start construction in this area!
2) Build or buy your compost enclosure – You can either build or buy an enclosure for your compost. This can be as simple as some hog wire or fancy as a chic wood structure from a DIY site.
3) Begin composting! – You can now begin daily contributions to the compost pile, which can be quite satisfying. You will be able to watch your waste like banana peels and coffee grounds turn into fertile new beginnings for garden soil.
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Now that you know all the benefits of composting you can get started today! When it comes to increasing your sustainability, almost nothing is easier. There are many other things you can do to contribute to creating an environmentally friendly home or business. Things like installing solar energy or using sustainable and compostable materials can do wonders for your carbon footprint. PlantSwitch is committed to bringing the best sustainable products to consumers and businesses every day.