Death: an essential part of the life cycle.♾ Woah...that’s heavy. All life comes from the nutrients of the earth. 🌱Plants grow from the soil, create more plants, and then die, all to be returned to the soil...to create more life.🌞
All organic material is like this, including humans.🙋♂️All the organic material that we no longer need is supposed to return to the soil, so that it may create nutrition for future life. For the most part, this is not happening.
🚮We are sending a majority of our organic waste to landfills. This is a problem. Here, organic matter will not break down correctly because it is devoid of oxygen and other requirements for proper breakdown.💩Or, it will be incinerated, which uses energy and causes air pollution.
Composting on the other hand, allows us to safely break down food and other organic material in a rather quick and sustainable way.💚 This compost can then be used for growing food, enriching soil, etc. etc. Rotten food people! This is exciting stuff!😆
It’s important to note though, we should first focus on reducing our food waste. Food waste is a major global issue that is responsible for wasting millions of 💧gallons of water, 💨emissions, 🏞and land.
An upwards of 40% of food that is grown or raised goes to waste.😔 This is huge. So while composting is a great option to return nutrients to the soil, it should be the last resort. Much like recycling. ♻️
So here’s what we’ll be going over today:
- What to compost
- Ways to gather compost indoors
- How to discard of compost and or start your own pile
What to Compost
You can compost things like:
- 🍌Food scraps
- 🍃Lawn clippings
- 🌳Wood products
- 👕Cotton products
- 📝Paper products (watch out for toxic inks)
If it’s made from plants, it can probably be composted!
What we compost tends to change depending on the 📏size of our compost pile and or the guidelines if we are hiring a compost service, more on that in a bit.
Ways to have a compost bin indoors
If you are discarding small scraps of things often, it’s way more convenient to have a bin inside somewhere rather than going in and out so often to a compost pile. This, like everything else in life, kinda comes down to personal preference.
You can simply set up a five gallon bucket with a lid, to seal the smell.
You can buy a fancy and good looking compost bin.
🥣Or, if you have your food waste dialed (great job) and don’t generate that much, maybe a simple bowl in the freezer will do. Freezing prevents smell. Now you have an excuse to eat all that ice cream that was taking up so much room.🍨
What to do with your compost and where to put it
The indoor bin is just a convenient and temporary solution. You will need to figure out where to put that organic material.📦You have two options here: one of them is very short and simple, and the other is average length and simple.
The first option: drop your compost off or pay for a service
🥬Community gardens, friends gardens, 🛒food co-ops. A lot of these places provide a free compost drop off option as long as you’re fine with transporting it. Why is this? Because Compost is the life-blood of good soil! People want your compost!🦠
Many communities also have some sort of compost pickup service, whether it be a 🚛large scale industrial style or very small scale by hand (and often bike powered) style.🚲 Look to see if there is community compost pick-up in your area!
The second option: make your own compost pile!
If you have access to the land or space, it can be very easy to manage your own compost pile.🍉 First, you will need a way to store it. This again, depends on personal preference.🌱
You can choose from one of those fancy rotating above ground composters, or it can be as simple as building four walls that are tall and wide enough to suit your needs.
There are a plethora of 🔨DIY compost bins out there, even ones completely free! Check out this article for some DIY ideas.
You’ll need to pay attention to what you’re adding to your compost
For a compost pile to breakdown correctly, with no nasty gases and not taking forever, it will require a certain ratio. Woah…science-y.🔬
What do I mean when I’m talking about ratios? I mean the ratio of carbon to nitrogen materials.🧪 Which is really low nitrogen vs high nitrogen materials.
🥗High nitrogen is commonly called green compost. Typically anything green will be high in nitrogen, but there are exceptions, such as coffee!☕️While coffee grounds are brown, they are very high in nitrogen.
🌲Low nitrogen is the dead, woody, often dry stuff like twigs, straw, wood, paper, leaves, etc. Also called brown compost.🍂
So, the ratio. If you want to get 🤓super specific about it and create the best conditions for microbes to thrive, they prefer 30:1 brown to green or carbon to nitrogen. This isn’t required, in case you are crazy overwhelmed now.
A little less complicated is the 2:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen. This will create a very fast breakdown process while remaining relatively uncomplicated.😎
If you don’t want to worry about that, then a 1:1 ratio will work fine. Or half and half. So make sure half of the pile is some fresh, greenish, raw, and even wet stuff. And the other half being brown, dry, and dead stuff.😌
For the full back story on ratios and all that🎷 jazz, head to this article.
It also helps speed up the compost process by rotating it ever so often. This get’s oxygen to the microbes, which they need and love.💚
Compost, if mixed relatively perfectly, can be ready within a month. But if you are just casually adding in as you go (as most people do), it can take upwards of 6-8 months depending on a variety of factors.
That’s it, enjoy your soil!
Or enjoy the fact that you’ve diverted waste from a landfill and all the space and methane that’s involved. 😚
Composting can be as complex or as simple as we make it to be. 🥑While certain food scraps are unavoidable, we should first start to focus on limiting our food waste and therefore the amount of compost we generate. 🍒
So then, the little waste we do generate we can feel better about knowing it’s close to bare minimum while also returning to the soil.🤙Returning the world back to its natural processes is the best goal to have when deciding what actions to take for the better of the earth. 🌏
Written by Aaron Burr
A writer dedicated to working solely with companies on a mission to help the earth and people on it.