Naturally, I decided to start composting! From my own research I learned about the benefits of composting, and also the effects of food waste ending up in our landfills; I couldn’t believe how ignorant I had been before this. It was something my parents and grandparents did all my life, and I didn’t know why it had taken me so long to start. It drastically cut down on our household waste: we were taking our small garbage bag out once every 2-3 weeks.
Step 1: Build or purchase a compost bin. Some tips: http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost_bin_build.htm . Put branches and leaves at the bottom (drainage).
Step 2: Layer your compost materials brown-green-brown (carbon = brown material, nitrogen = green material). So much can be composted: dry leaves, straw, shredded paper/newspaper, teabags, eggshells, coffee grounds, veggie/fruit scraps, etc. There are no-nos: meat, dairy, oils, wheat, treats (with sugars, etc), pet waste.
Step 3: Add water if dry, and toss to add air. Living things need shelter, food, water, and air… including all those microbes and other critters living in your compost bin doing the job of decomposition.
Step 4: Turn your compost. I’m a bit lazy with this step; the more you turn it, the faster it decomposes. Helps to have two bins for this step.
Step 5: Use your compost soil and feel good about the fact you’ve kept food scraps in the life cycle, now to be used again as rich soil. Don’t have a garden? I don’t either (not yet anyway). That’s no reason to not compost. Use for your house plants, lawn fertilizer, mulch, or donate to one of your gardener friends, or a school or community garden. Lots of possibilities.
Favourite teacher composting resource: Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals