Have you considered composting your kitchen scraps but don’t know where to start? Here’s a beginner’s guide to get you started on this easy, rewarding and beneficial activity.
First off, what is composting?
Composting is nature’s process of recycling organic material such as vegetable scraps into a rich soil additive.
Why should I compost?
Food waste is a hot topic of conversation these days. We generate an estimated 70 billion pounds of food waste in America each year, and when food is disposed in a landfill it rots and becomes a significant source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
Composting is awesome for a multitude of reasons:
- As mentioned above, composting your kitchen scraps helps divert waste from landfills.
- You are what you eat. Feeding your soil nutrition will improve your own diet. Plants grown in depleted soil have a reduced nutrition content. Don’t have a garden? Compost anyway and let your gardening friend or neighbor use it when they have need. You may reap some fruit or veggie rewards for helping them out.
- Home composting is a great educational experience for your kids. They learn about nature and the cycle of life.
So, HOW do I compost?
Step 1. First, you’ll need a lidded container to keep in your kitchen. There are plenty of options depending on your personal taste, from stainless steel to plastic. To take your eco-friendly game a step further, these bins from Greenlid (check out their super informative and adorable video above) are compostable and recyclable. Simply reuse a few times or toss in your outdoor compost pile or roll cart when finished.
Step 2. As you prepare your meals, collect compostable kitchen scraps. Fruit and veggie remains, such as peels, cores, rinds or whole produce items that have begun to rot, are excellent fodder for compost. Eggshells, bread and grain products, tea bags, coffee grounds, coffee filters and napkins can all be added to your compost container as well.
Step 3. Discard meat and dairy products in another way – do not add these to your kitchen scraps for composting. This includes all fish, poultry, meat, cheese and butter. Avoid adding any oily foods to your compost.
Step 4. If you have an outdoor compost heap, combine the kitchen scraps with carbon-rich materials for a balanced compost. Composting ingredients fall into two categories: nitrogen, or “green” materials and carbon, or “brown” materials. Despite the actual color of kitchen scraps, this is considered a “green” material due to the high nitrogen content. Balance this with an abundance of “brown” ingredients, such as leaves, wood and straw. Avoid adding weed seeds, diseased plant material, disposable diapers or glossy newsprint.
If your city provides a compost roll cart, empty your kitchen container into the roll cart as frequently as you would like. Most cities have a weekly pickup.
Voilà – it’s that easy! You’re on your way to reducing your daily impact and creating something beneficial for the environment.