It’s 2019. Every day brings new advancements in technology and ways to improve our lives and how we impact the environment. You’ve probably already taken the usual steps; upgrading to Energy Star rated appliances, installing solar panels to your roof and replacing your old windows with energy efficient models. Recycling has been part of our lives for decades, but another way to cut down on waste that’s also been around for a while, but isn’t as widely used is compost.
Compost is the natural breaking down of organic material. That broken down material becomes fertilizer. Fertilizer from compost is actually the most nutrient dense fertilizer on the market – seeing as it is derived from nutrient rich foods and other organic material. But the benefits go far beyond that.
What Can Compost?
As mentioned, organic material is what creates compost, most of which is food. But not all foods. Prepared food will not naturally break down. However, the peels and rinds of fruits and vegetables do qualify. Also on the list are egg shells and coffee grounds. For anyone who eats a traditional breakfast of coffee, eggs, and bacon that’s a whole lot of compost happening in your trash can.
Other materials that can compost are grass clippings, wood chips, and most papers, though the jury is still out on whether or not newspapers and receipts are good for composting due to the chemicals in the ink. It will break down over time, but the toxic chemicals aren’t entirely safe for fertilizers.
Great question, so glad you asked. There’s already a lot of trash in your can that composts under the right conditions. However, trapped in a garbage bag in the landfill with other non-compostable materials prevents it from serving the earth to its fullest potential as fertilizer. Separating out your compostables – like you do with recyclables – means you can put it to great use in your very own yard. But it doesn’t just stop at growing a healthy lawn and garden.
All water filters through the soil, which is why it’s important to be careful with the types of manufactured fertilizers you use. Ground that’s been fertilized with toxins end up polluting the water in the long run. So not only do you have the benefit of clearing out a landfill and putting trash to use, you also get to improve overall water quality. Makes you wonder why more people don’t do it.
How Does One Go About Composting At Home?
Another excellent question. There are actually a few ways you can compost whether or not you have the materials for it. If you’re bound to an apartment or condo living, larger cities like Los Angeles and Austin have community-wide compost programs; sites where you can learn how to compost properly and dispose of it for municipal use.
If you don’t want to participate in a community program, you can compost from the comfort of your own home with a composting bin you can purchase, or by creating your own DIY bin starting directly on the ground and layering between moist and dry materials. It’s important to keep your compost moist and in a full sun area of your yard. Some bins are designed to control the smell of compost, but there are also home remedies you can use to keep stenches at bay.
For the tech savvy investor, home compost systems like the HomeBioGas are popping up in homes around the world. These systems allow you to compost more than just the regular items. Not only that, but the entire system converts part of the compost into natural gas that is then funneled into a burner in your kitchen’s stove with which you can use to cook. Your food trash can actually beget more food prep.
In the end, however you choose to compost making the choice to compost is one of the best decisions you can make to improve the environment and your own home.