How to: Food Waste Composting
How to: Food Waste Composting
Why Should I Compost?
Did you know that food waste accounts approximately 20% of our household trash? Composting keeps organics out of the landfill, reduces waste and puts valuable nutrients back into our food cycle. When food scraps end up in the landfill they emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. By composting in your backyard, you are diverting the waste from the landfill and reducing your carbon footprint.
How Do I Compost?
Composting is the process of recycling organic waste through decomposition. It’s a simple process that results in a nutrient rich dirt-like material that can be used to enrich the soil in houseplants, gardens, parks and anywhere the soil needs improvement.
What Should I Put Into My Compost Bin?
The recipe for a backyard compost pile is quite simple. All you need is carbon, nitrogen and water. That’s it.
Nitrogen sources a.k.a “Greens”
are easily supplied by many of the items you regularly discard in your kitchen waste bin. These are the “yes” items, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, nut shells, coffee grounds, bread and grains.
Carbon sources a.k.a. “Browns”
are added to the pile in the form of saw dust and fine wood chips from untreated wood, straw, shredded paper and cardboard and fallen leaves. No pesticides please!
Water should be adequate most of the year
However, if your pile seems drier than a wrung out sponge, give it some water.
Ideally you want a layer of Greens followed by a layer of Browns that is at least double the amount of the layer of Greens. You would continue this layering throughout the process of building your compost pile. When your pile heats up, you can turn your pile, but it’s not required. An unturned statis pile will decompose, although not as quickly.
In the event that your backyard compost bin gets completely filled you can create a secondary pile. Your secondary pile should be placed in a space that is at least three feet long and three feet wide. To avoid pests you should choose to contain your secondary pile in an additional plastic bin, metal fencing or a homemade wooden compost bin.
Pasta & Grains
Fruits & Vegetables
Un-Bleached Paper Products
Meat or Fish Bones
Large Branches & Wood
Plastic, Metal or Glass Container, Cutlery, Cups or Plates
When Should I Compost?
You can compost all year long however there are some things to consider seasonally:
Keep adding material to your backyard compost bin. The process will slow down in cold months however, the material will continue to break down. Once Spring arrives the process will pick up speed.
To speed up the process give your compost a stir and add some soil to introduce beneficial microbes. This is a good time of the year to dig out some finished compost from the bottom of your bin and add it to your garden beds or donate it to a neighbor or a local community garden.
Keep adding alternating layers of Greens and Browns to your pile. If your pile seems dry due to the warmer weather add some water.
Save your leaves and add as a carbon source throughout the fall and winter months. This is another good time to dig some finished compost out from the bottom of your bin and add it to your garden beds or donate it to a neighbor or a local community garden.