Today we have a Guest Post! I’m super excited to learn some more information on how to compost at home!
How to Start Composting at Home
By Katherine Oakes
Nearly 28% of solid waste is compostable material. That means that the things we throw out on a daily basis—specifically organic waste like fruits, vegetables, egg shells, coffee grinds and more—can be repurposed into a nutrient-rich form of mulch that closely represents soil. It’s great for potted plants and gardens and even has the nickname “black gold” because of its richness.
Composting isn’t just something for gardeners or farmers, it’s actually a great way for anyone to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When garbage gets taken to landfills, the contents often sit there unable to properly break down due to lack of oxygen. When this happens it goes through a detrimental process called anaerobic decomposition that produces methane (the harmful greenhouse gas we were talking about) and prevents nature from doing the work it needs to do! By composting, you are actually encouraging more oxygen and less methane to be released into the atmosphere, making a significant contribution—you’ll even get some amazing all-natural plant fertilizer, too! So, whether or not you live in a tiny walk-up apartment or have a sprawling backyard, composting is surprisingly easy and versatile.
At Modernize, we love the idea that anyone can make the most of their home and practice eco-friendly habits that make a big impact. To help you get started, we’re breaking it down step-by-step so you can make composting work for you.
- Get the Proper Container
Composting isn’t smelly, dirty or gross. In fact, when done properly, it doesn’t even attract flies! All you need is a small(ish) metal or aluminum compost bin to toss your scraps in because plastic tends to absorb the smell and these tend to be more durable and easy to clean. Start by placing an old piece of folded-up newspaper or paper towel at the bottom to absorb any extra moisture or water from the waste. A little bit of moisture helps it break down, but too much can just make it soupy (ew). So make sure that you lay the right foundation first before you start filling up your bin!
- Fill it Up
Now it’s time to get started. This means getting used to throwing out your organic waste in your compost rather than the garbage — it’s tough, we know. You’ll want to throw out the items mentioned above including some “brown stuff” like broken down egg cartons, shredded paper and used coffee filters to help eliminate any possibility of odor and add carbon to the mix, an important way for the microorganisms that turn your waste in nutrient-rich mulch to get the energy they need. Make sure you avoid meat, fish, greasy or oily substances, sauces, dairy and glossy-finished papers. These will halt the decomposition and even ruin it. So be mindful of what you’re throwing away.
- Passing it On
This is the fun part. After letting your compost sit for a while, it is important to “turn” the soil as if you were tossing a salad. You can either transition the contents to a larger outdoor container that is specifically suited for composting outside, add it to a larger bin in your home if you want to keep it for your own indoor plants and herbs, or find a community garden or waste management to take it off your hands. This is the fun part when you get to see what your efforts have produced and, if you have decided to use it as plant food, to reap the benefits of composting even more! Salads, anyone?