3 Oct
2016

What to Compost, How to Compost, and Why Compost

Posted by Norman F

compost, composter

100 billion pounds of food waste are discarded every year, that is almost 25% of all our food. Additional waste is created at processing plants and farms. Rotting food creates methane, a terrible greenhouse gas. Someday trash dumps will recover all this gas.  Right now, you can turn food scraps into useful matter by composting. Most local recycling programs do not support composting. Most are located in California. If your local sanitation department does not have a composting program, you can do it yourself.

What is Composting?

Composting is utilizing mother nature in turning food scraps and yard trimmings into super nutrient rich soil. It helps reduce waste and produces the best growing soil around.  Backyard composting is good for gardeners and those who have lots of yard trimmings and some produce scraps.

You know composting is going mainstream when you see Costco is selling several composters. Even Amazon has a bunch of low-cost composters.

How to compost?

Here is a good guide to composting.  We find it a great way to reduce the amount of trash put out and a great way to make some valuable rocket soil for growing plants.

compost pot

We put a container by the sink to collect compostables and later move them to our compost bin.

What to compost?

You can easily compost food scraps, vegetable and fruits. Also consider composting coffee grounds, tea bags (Synthetic Tea Bags do not compost), and the like.

  • Bones, bread, grains, pasta
  • Dairy products
  • Eggshells, fish, shellfish
  • Meat, Poultry
  • Paperbags, paper cups, paper cups, paper napkins, paper plates, Pizza box containers
  • Paper fast food burger containers, paper takeout boxes
  • wine corks
  • paper coffee cups
  • Yard clippings including branches, brush, flowers, lawn clippings, leaves, and weeds

Composting Tea Bags

Some non compostable types of tea bags may be slick to the touch and have a heat-sealed edge. If this is the case, cut open the tea bag and trash it. Perhaps it is time to switch to a different tea.
Read more at Gardening Know How: Composting Tea Bags: Can I Put Tea Bags In The Garden? http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/composting-tea-bags.htm

Composting food scraps

Our local trash company, Recology finally got with the program in 2011 and is now composting food scraps. Line the inside with newspaper or biodegradable bags.  Do not use plastic bags. Sprinkle baking soda if it begins to smell. Flies can be prevented with essential oils such as citrus, eucalyptus, lavender, or lemongrass dripped on the inside lid.

What Not to Compost

  • Aluminum or Metal
  • Animal waste
  • Construction waste including concrete, asphalt, stones, bricks, wood
  • Cooking Oil
  • Condiment packets such as ketchup, mustard
  • Diapers
  • Garbage
  • Glass or ceramics
  • Hazardous waste including chemicals, cleaners, batteries
  • Juice, soy milk, or soup boxes with foil liners
  • Liquids or ice
  • Plastics or plastic bags
  • Sod, dirt
  • Any Styrofoam

compost bin

Here is our big compost bin.  It works but is not built very well.  The plastic parts come apart forcing us to relatch it every couple months.

compost soil

This compost is the final result of our efforts.

Why Compost?

Composting allows us to turn organic trash into super soil. Although composting requires a lot of effort and time, the benefits far outweigh additional trash in a landfill.

CNBC’s Trash Inc: The Secret Life of Garbage helped remind us that garbage is everyone’s problem and needs us to be more responsible. New York City garbage gets hauled several states away to get dumped!

Compostable Cups at Everything Coca Cola

Coca-cola compostable cup

It is good to see that even Coca Cola is getting green. They are using 100% compostable cups in their beverage showroom.

The stores in the Grand Canyon are also using ‘Green’ bags. Did not really want this bag but figured we’d take a picture of one. The clerks were shocked that we did not want a bag.

Discount Compost Bins

Composting is utilizing mother nature in turning food scraps and yard trimmings into super nutrient rich soil. It helps reduce waste and produces the best growing soil around. Backyard composting is good for gardeners and those who have lots of yard trimmings and some produce scraps.

Alameda County Residents: StopWaste.org has $129 Smith & Hawken Biostack compost bins for only $44 plus Sales Tax $4.29 + Shipping $19.

San Mateo County Residents: Recycleworks has discounts on Biostack and Wriggly Wranch compost bins for residents.

Seattle Residents: Seattle Public Utilities has discounts too.

If you are handy, build your own composting bin.

It comes with a manual on how to do composting. I like composting because it helps reduce all the trash we throw away. Compost is like super soil that helps produce some awesome plants.

Check with your local recycling program provider to see if they have similar programs. Costco and Amazon have sales on composters from time to time.

If you live in a city, consider an electronic composter.

NatureMill Automatic Composter

NatureMill makes the new NatureMill Automatic composter that takes the pain out of composting. Composting takes kitchen scrapes and yard waste and turns them into super fertilizer, helping to divert waste from the trash pile. This product is ideal for apartments and non-gardeners.

Traditionally, you take your scraps to a compost box outside and mix them with grass, leaves, and other yard waste.  You need to balance green items and brown items and wait several months for results.

This new appliance does it all for you.  Just add food waste and it does the rest.  No need to collect waste, hike out to the backyard, rotate stuff. In two weeks you have compost.  It only uses 5 kwh of power a month, approximately $0.50 per month. This device is made recycled and recyclable materials and starts at $299.99 from amazonReview

CNBC’s Trash Inc: The Secret Life of Garbage helped remind us that garbage is everyone’s problem and needs us to be more responsible.

Disposable Diaper Composting Service

kids, children

Earth-Baby.com is a new service that composts disposable baby diapers and wipes. Finally a green solution to a long time problem. They say their high temperature composting process uses only a tiny fraction of the energy required to launder diapers.

The down sides. Their monthly service fee is $29.99 and includes delivery, pickup, and professional processing. You need to use their diapers as they need to control their waste stream. (And profits) Diapers are $11.79 per pack (22-44 diapers depending upon the size) and wipes are $3.59 per pack of 70. Their service is available in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check your local area for similar diaper composting services.

gDiapers makes hybrid diapers whose biodegradable gRefills can be home composted, flushed, or thrown away.

Knowaste recycles diapers, nappies, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products (AHPS).

Slightly over 2% of trash is diapers, so construction debris, food scraps, and other items are far more important to address.

Posted on October 3rd, 2016
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed.

12 Responses to “What to Compost, How to Compost, and Why Compost”

  1. Discount Compost Bins for Alameda County, San Mateo County, Composting | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] with your local recycling program provider to see if they have similar programs. Costco has sales on composters from time to […]

  2. Green your Garden | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] elements in gardening include avoiding pesticides, composting, planting native plants and trees, minimizing Drought Tolerant Plants, Xeriscaping, Saving Water in […]

  3. Have a Green Halloween | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] Compost the pumpkin, squash, etc. […]

  4. Recology New Recycling System with Composting | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] that handles composting of food waste! We no longer have to perform time-consuming and messy composting ourselves.  This service opens the door to recycling so much more material to the mainstream […]

  5. How to have a Green Valentine's Day | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] Compost any meals leftovers, etc. […]

  6. How to have a Green Easter | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] Compost any waste, etc. […]

  7. How to have a Green Memorial day | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] Compost any waste, etc. […]

  8. How to have a Green Father's Day | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] Compost any waste, etc. […]

  9. How to have a Green Independence Day or Fourth of July | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] Compost any waste, etc. […]

  10. Drought Tolerant Plants, Water Conservation, Xeriscaping, Saving Water in Garden | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] elements in gardening include avoiding pesticides, composting, planting native plants and trees, minimizing Drought Tolerant Plants, Xeriscaping, Saving Water in […]

  11. How to have a Green Independence Day or Fourth of July | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] Compost any waste, etc. […]

  12. How to have a Eco Friendly or Green Christmas - Recycling Gift Wrap, Holiday Cards, LED Lights, and Trees Says:

    […] Compost the leftovers, fruits, vegetables, etc. […]

Leave a Reply

Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name.