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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Thayer

How To Compost At Home. Build Your Own Compost For $8 or less.

What is composting you ask? Composting is the process of breaking down organic materials. Recycling organic materials like fruits, vegetables, and yard clippings creates a nutritious soil amendment that can again be used as "plant food". You can add the amendment to your house plants, garden, soil, or flower beds. The alternative to composting is throwing these materials in the garbage. When we throw these materials in the trash we skip recycling and instead turn these materials into harmful greenhouse gas- methane.

According to the EPA food waste makes up 22 percent (7.5 Million Tons) of our landfill waste. Food waste accounts for about 8 percent of total world greenhouse gas emission. This could be avoided by recycling our food and giving these nutrients back to the earth from which we took them from.

Luckily, the solution is simple! Start composting at home whether you live in an apartment or house. Composting at home is an easy way you can reduce your carbon footprint and give back to the earth by recycling precious nutrients instead of wasting them.

Creating a home compost is cheap and easy! In the pictures above Hannah made her own home compost out of a storage tote. She used an old plastic trail mix container for her kitchen compost collection- all costing under $8. The only con with using a plastic container as your kitchen compost is you may have to empty it more frequently to avoid odor.

My fiance and I decided to purchase a standing compost bin on Amazon that is more visually pleasing since we live in a condo with restrictions on what we can/can't do outside. For our kitchen compost collection we also purchased a stainless steel compost with a carbon filter to control any odor. We can go 4+ days without emptying it before it smells.

The point is ANYONE can compost and it does not have to cost you ANYTHING.

AND the Earth will thank us for returning these valuable nutrients.

How easy is compost management you ask? SUPER SIMPLE here it goes...

Once you have you compost bin you can start collecting scraps from your kitchen and yard.

What can you put in your compost bin? Successful composts need a mixture of carbon and nitrogen.

Carbon/Brown Materials Nitrogen/Green Materials Do Not Add

- Leaves/branches - Fruit/vegetable scraps - Meat/fat/bones

-Untreated wood - Fresh Grass Clippings - Dairy products

-Shredded Newspaper - Fresh leafy prunnings - Pet waste

- Hay - Kitchen scraps (egg shells, - Treated wood

-Saw Dust coffee grounds ect.) - Weeds/diseased plants

-Dryer Lent - Garden Plants - Poison oak, ivy, sumac

- Chicken/rabbit manure

The ideal ratio of carbon to nitrogen materials is 3/4 carbon (brown) and 1/4 nitrogen (greens).

Place your compost bin in an area that receives moderate sunlight, composting is best when the internal temperature is between 80-150 degrees F. I would suggest using a black bin to increase heat production. Composting material should remain moist (50-60% moisture content). If you find the soil dry and crumbly add some water. If you find it is very wet add more brown material.

You will need to mix or turn your compost at least once a week. I suggest every 3 days. If you are using a tote compost you can use a shovel, rake, or large stick to mix and churn up the compost. The compost we purchased from Amazon makes this step very simple because all we have to do is turn the compost 5-10 items every few days. This is an important step because these materials need air to break down properly.

When can you use your compost material?

As soon as you have a dark brown layer that smells earthy it can be directly added to plants or soil beds.

Let's recap!

***** YOU can reduce your carbon footprint and give nutrients back to the Earth by properly recycling organic materials like food waste, lawn clippings, newspaper/junk mail.

***** Composting creates valuable material you can use to fertilize your plants and soil beds.

***** You can make your own compost pretty much for free, and compost management is super easy. As long as you have an outdoor space you can place a bin you're are set ( If you live in an apartment without a patio, ask management if you can place in outside on the grounds).

Some cities have started implementing composting programs to encourage making this practice a norm. Perform a google search and see if there are any composting programs in your area!

The City of St. Petersburg, Fl is giving residents in single-family homes a compost bin to help minimize our environmental impacts. Sign up HERE if you're a resident.

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