What is composting?
You may have heard about composting but never quite understood what it was. As explained by the EPA, “compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow.”
It’s as simple as that. What would have otherwise just been waste is recycled while also making the planet greener.
Why is composting good for the environment?
There are a variety of reasons why composting is a good thing to do for your plants and for the environment in general.
Here’s a list of a few of the reasons according to the University of California:
- Saves water
- Recycles organic resources
- Conserves landfill space
- Improves plant growth
- Reduces the use of harmful chemical fertilizers
As you can see, composting can have a major impact on protecting the environment and creating a more sustainable world.
How to build a compost bin?
Before you should know about what goes in a compost bin, you need to have one first. That requires building it.
The first thing you need to do is to pick out a good spot where you can place the compost bin. It should be near your garden. Once you’ve picked out the spot, put down a garbage bag in the spot.
Afterwards, you can use a storage container as the composter. One that’s 20 gallons or more is preferable.
Cut out the bottom of the container and drill holes in it. Lastly, put the container over the garage and fill it up with organic waste.
You can use a rope to secure the top of your bin if you have a lot of animals that roam your property often.
If you’re unclear about what exactly to compost, here are some ideas you can consider for composting.
What you can compost
Kitchen greens for composting
Greens have a lot of nitrogen, which can add heat to your compost pile. That helps all the microorganisms in the compost grow.
They don’t have to necessarily be green. For example, cooked pasta would be a considered a green.
1. Kitchen greens
2. Tree leaves
3. Grass clippings
4. Coffee grounds
5. Potato peels
6. Banana peels
8. Melon rinds
9. Citrus rinds
10. Dead plants
11. Corn cobs
13. Cooked plain rice
14. Stale bread
15. Loose leaf tea
16. Cooked pasta
17. Dried herbs and spices
18. Spoiled pasta sauce
19. Cooked rice
20. Old spices
22. Stale candy
23. Avocado pits
24. Stale pumpkin
25. Stale candy
26. Old jam
27. Molded cheese
28. Stale wine
29. Melted ice cream
Bathroom greens for composting
31. Menstrual blood
32. Rabbit, hamster, or gerbil droppings
33. Bird or snake droppings
34. Horse manure
Browns are items that add carbon so you can balance out the nitrogen greens that you’ve added into your compost.
The browns break down slowly, they’re dry, and they take up space which helps to provide air pockets. They’re a food source for the organisms that dwell in the soil.
Browns in the house for composting
35. Shredded papers or newspapers
37. Used napkins
42. Toilet paper
43. Hair from a hairbrush
44. Dryer lint
45. Old cotton towels
46. Dust bunnies
Browns outside of the house for composting
47. Sawdust or wood shavings
49. Leaves in the fall
53. Wood chips
54. Dry cat or dog food
55.Dog or cat fur
57. Pine needles
Don’t forget water for composting
In addition, to the greens and browns you put in your compost bin, you also need to put in water in order for their to be compost development as well.
What not to compost
While there are a number of items listed here that you can compost, there are also items you should be aware of that you shouldn’t compost.
A range of problems can occur such as developing pests, harming the plants, or creating a foul odor. Here’s a list of some of the items the EPA recommends you don’t compost:
1. Dairy products – Foul odor and attracts pests
2. Fats or oils – Foul odor and attracts pests
3. Meat or fish bones and scraps – Foul odor and attracts pests
4. Chemically treated yard trimmings – Can kill composting organisms
5. Dog or cat feces – Can contain germs, bacteria, viruses that harm humans, and parasites
Be sure to steer clear of putting any of these items or the other items that the EPA mentions should not be composted
Final thoughts on composting
Composting can be a great way to recycle all of the things you don’t need or no longer use. Take time to do your own research on how to compost.
Composting is a win-win for everybody, as it helps the plants we desire to grow well, and makes the earth a more inhabitable place.