How You Can Start Your Own Compost!

One of the simpliest ways to begin the transition to a zero waste lifestyle, is by starting a compost pile! All my life, my family has had a compost pile that has helped keep our plants nice and healthy. I can’t imagine my life without having one! It’s important to note that I do still live with my parents, so I have never had to create my own compost pile. Throughout my childhood, I have definitely learned some incredible tips and tricks that have continued to keep the compost pile thriving for 20+ years!

Step 1: Finding a place to compost!

It’s easier to have a compost pile in your home because it can be put in your back yard. This allows for the natural heat and worms from the earth to begin the decomposing process. However, it’s not impossible to compost in your apartment. A popular way is to get in touch with some local farmers and see if they will take your food scraps. However, if you would like to start a compost pile in your apartment, there are various ways to go about doing it. One of the most popular ones is a worm compost. This is usually done in a big container with a lid that you can punch holes into with a screwdriver. I recommend getting a big plastic recycling container. Here is a link to more information about this type of compost pile: http://wastelandrebel.com/en/apartment-composting-with-a-worm-bin/

Step 2: Starting your compost!

It’s important to have layers of grass, hay, or dirt with your waste. This will ensure that your waste decomposes correctly, instead of turning into a big pile of mold. This goes for both outside and inside compost piles. The worms will help turn the compost and bring more oxygen into the decomposing process. It’s also important to turn your compost with a shovel or rack. You should do this daily, but be careful not the kill any of the worms.

Step 3: What goes into a compost pile?

When starting your compost, many believe that any type of food waste can decompose into the soil. That may be true, it’s important to recognize what might be poisons to plants and shouldn’t go in the compost.

Should go into compost:

Fruits and Veggies of all kinds

Nuts and dried fruit

Algae, seaweed, and lake moss

Wood ashes

Kitchen water

Cardboard

Coffee grounds (and natural filters)

Dryer lint

Feathers

Flowers

Egg shells

Grass clippings

Bird, rabbit, and other small animal droppings (they don’t eat meat!)

Hair

Leaves

Newspaper

Leaves

Paper

Sawdust

Tea leaves (and natural filters)

Weeds

 

What you shouldn’t compost:

Coal ashes or charcoal

Cat droppings

Colored paper

Dog droppings

Lime

Meat, fat, grease, oils, bones

Toxic materials

Diseased plants

Milk, yogurt, cheese

Soda or sugary food

Cake

Bread

Candy

Step 4: Trick with compost piles!

It’s important to do your research and make sure that your compost, like other living things, gets the love it deserves. For people with outside composts or if your using a friend’s compost, it’s important to keep your food scraps in a nice cold place until you are ready to put them in the pile. This will ensure that the decomposing process doesn’t start early and leak all over the place or start to smell.

Step 5: Why compost!

Composting helps decrease the amount of food waste in the trash and bad smells coming from the garbage. Many think that food waste might help decompose the plastic and other materials into the earth. Unfortunately, with a ton of food waste in the landfill, it will take thousands of years for these food scraps to start the decomposing process. Plastic will never “decompose” no matter how long we wait for it too.

Since, I am no means an expert on the subject, I have decided to include some links to helpful and more in-depth compost articles below!

The Easiest Way To Compost: https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-compost

How to Start a Compost Pile in 4 Easy Steps: http://www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com/how-to-start-a-compost-pile-in-4-easy-steps/

Worm Composting 101: https://www.planetnatural.com/worm-composting/