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Composting basics

When you think of the word composting, what comes to mind? For many, it is an intangible, abstract process closely associated with farming and acres of land to work with.  However, composting comes in many forms, and can be done with ease in a variety of ways suitable to many different lifestyles.

What is composting

Compost is organic material that breaks down naturally and therefore does not need to go to landfill. Most non-animal produced food products, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and even coffee grounds, can be composted.  Other materials that can be composted may surprise you, including many paper products such as paper towels and tissues (as long as they are not used to mop up harmful chemical cleaners or grease), dryer lint and dust bunnies, any hair or pet fur, old wine and beer, wine corks, and many more! Composting is the process of recycling these materials without throwing them into the trash, drastically reducing the amount of waste going to the dump that one produces.  There are three main components that are required to create usable compost, which are browns, including dead leaves, branches, and paper, greens, which includes plant material and food waste, and water, which is essential to keep the compost at the appropriate moisture to break down effectively.

Check out this list of items you can compost!

 

What are the benefits

Composting has many benefits for a variety of different lifestyles.  If you are an avid gardener or pride yourself on landscape maintenance, composting is definitely for you!  Adding compost to soil provides it with many vital nutrients that help plants grow, reduce the need for costly and harmful chemical fertilizers, and prevents disease and decay of plants and grass.  If you live in an urban environment, or planting is not for you, you can still reap the benefits that this natural recycling has to offer, the largest of which is cutting down the waste you produce and lowering your carbon footprint.  Check out more reasons to compost here.

Suburban and rural composting

There are many different types of composting that require different levels of space, work, and materials; therefore, we find these methods to be best suited for suburban and rural households with outdoor space for compost bins.

Aerobic composting

Aerobic composting requires the introduction of air into the compost bin to help break down materials.  Tumble style bins are ideal for this type of composting, which have a handle or spin setting to allow air to enter into the trough.  Aerobic composting requires monitoring, as the contents of the bin need to be both moist and turned frequently, but the breakdown process is quicker than other types of composting and helps keep odors to a minimum.

Anaerobic composting

Anareobic composting does not require any turning or water addition, so it is a good low maintenance option for those with space for a compost pile or composter (and who are not afraid of smells, this method does tend to produce odors).  You can toss food scraps and other compostable materials into a pile or compost bin, and leave it alone for several months.

Urban composting

For those living in urban settings where outdoor space is limited, compost options that are  more contained and give off less of an odor are definitely preferable.  If you live in an apartment yet want to give composting a try, fear not! These methods can easily and safely be done indoors, even in small spaces.

Vericomposting

Vericomposting uses worms to break down food scraps as the food passes through their digestive system. The worms require storage in a plastic bin lined with damp newspaper and with holes in the top for oxygen.  This method does require maintenance to ensure the worms are healthy and adjust the waste you include to the amount they can consume, but will produce compost usable for all your gardening needs minus unpleasant odors.

Here is a helpful guide for getting started with vericomposting.

Simple Composting

If you don’t have the desire to keep your compost, you can still reduce your waste going to landfill by separating your trash into compostable and non-compostable materials. A simple and cheap way to start composting is to have a metal bin in your kitchen with a lid and lined with a compostable bag. Many urban areas offer inexpensive pickup services that run parallel with trash pickup, and if they don’t, many local farms or businesses working with produce will take your organic waste.  You can store compost bags that are full in the freezer to reduce the amount of drop-off trips you make, as well.

 

 

There is a type of composting for every lifestyle, and it is a great way to reduce the amount of waste you produce.  Best of luck and happy composting! Please contact us at jointhetribe@flourish.shop with any ideas for articles you would like to see in the
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