If you’d asked me a couple years ago about composting, I would have assumed it was a fringe thing that hippie mamas in Birkenstocks did. Storing your trash and turning it into soil just seemed so . . . granola. Way too granola for this city dweller. But then I visited my sister-in-law Jodie in Seattle, and noticed a small little container on her counter that she used to collect composting items. She showed me how it worked and really demystified it for me, and suddenly I saw it as the easy, practical, and eco-friendly process that it is. So in case you aren’t composting yet, I’m here to convert you.
Composting is basically the collection of waste that can break down into soil. It’s obviously ideal for people who garden, but it’s still a great practice even if you don’t use the soil yourself, because it helps reduce your waste output by breaking down your trash. If you don’t have a use for the soil you create, there are no shortage of people who garden who would be happy to take it off your hands. You would be surprised how much you can reduce your waste output by composting.
Let’s start with what you can compost.
After I did a bit of research I was surprised to find how many things I could compost. Coffee grounds and filters, apple cores, banana peels, tea bags, napkins, pizza boxes, brown paper bags, plain pasta or rice, old bread or cereal, paper towel rools, produce, used non-waxed paper plates, nut shells, cereal boxes, wine corks, moldy cheese, old ice cream, wine that’s gone bad, egg cartons, old loofahs, cotton balls, dryer lint, shredded paper, pencil shavings, receipts, vaccuum cleaner contents, newspapers, houseplants and flowers, fireplace ash . . . you can even chop up your Christmas tree and compost it.
Getting started is easy. We just made two purchases. We bought a door-mounted garbage can that hangs just inside the cabinet under the sink. This is where we collect most of our produce for composting. It has a lid so it keeps the odor down. We also bough a compost bin for the backyard.
From there, it’s pretty simple. Stick your compostable items in the bin. A couple times a week, empty the bin into the composter. Once a week, stir it really well. (BTW, emptying the compost bin is an easy chore for young kids.)
That’s it! As you can see in the picture above, in a few months your items will transform into rich soil. Like magic!
Do you compost? Have any tips that I’m missing?