Earth Day is right around the corner, and many people are taking the opportunity to start thinking about doing their part to take care of the planet. While reducing your plastic use is usually the first thought, composting kitchen scraps is actually one of the most effective ways to reduce waste.
If you've never tried composting before, you might feel a bit intimidated. Surprisingly, it's actually easier than you think! Here are three simple tips to help you get started.
- Understand the Basics
First things first. Before you can start composting, you need to understand what it is and why you would want to do it.
The term composting simply means creating an oxygen-rich setting where organic materials (ex. old food and papers) can naturally decompose and create an environmentally-friendly fertilizer. Turning what would otherwise end up in the dump into a product you can re-use around the house is the primary benefit of this practice.
- Set Up Your Composting Receptacle
You can purchase a composting bin online or at your local hardware store, but you can also simply use a wooden container, or an old trash can. You'll just need to make sure whatever you choose has a good cover to keep rain out and hold the heat in.
Begin by putting down a layer of straw and then alternate between layers of dry and moist materials. Think of things like paper for your dry layers and discarded vegetables or grass clippings for your moist layers. Check every once in a while to make sure your pile stays moist (but not wet!) and turn it over every few weeks to introduce fresh oxygen into the system.
- Understand the Dos and Don'ts
As a general rule, compost piles do best when they're made up of two-thirds carbon-based items and one-third nitrogen-based items. Carbon items include things like paper, eggshells, dryer lint, corncobs, and cotton. Nitrogen items include fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, and yard waste like grass clippings and fresh flowers.
If your compost pile starts to give off a foul odor, you might have too many nitrogen-based items. Try adding more carbon items and the smell should dissipate. You'll also want to avoid adding items like meat, animal feces, colored paper, and dead plants.
If you start composting now, by next spring you'll have a ton of great fertilizer for your flower beds. It won't cost you anything and will help you do your part for the environment. Win-win!
If you're ready to do even more to make your home eco-friendlier, check out these great articles:
- The Advantages of Air Sealing and Home Insulation
- Is It Better to Wash Dishes By Hand or Use a Dishwasher?
- Save Money with These Energy-Conscious Practices and Better Insulation