composting your kitchen waste

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Composting 101: Everything to Know About Composting Kitchen Waste

If this is the year when you start composting... here's what to know

February 28, 2019

One of the best ways you can make your home more eco-friendly is to reduce waste. And while most of us will think about using less plastics or paper products first, one of the easiest ways to reduce waste is actually to compost your kitchen scraps.

Of course, if you've never composted before, beginning it can be a daunting task. But don't worry, we're breaking down the basics of composting your kitchen waste so you can easily pick it up once the weather breaks.

First, let's define composting. Composting is the natural decomposition of organic materials (nitrogen-based and carbon-based) in an oxygen-rich setting in order to create an environmentally-friendly fertilizer you can use around the house.

Related: How to Make Your Home Energy Efficient Without Construction or Demolition

While compost bins can be found just about anywhere, you can really use anything from an old trash can to a wooden container. Start by laying some straw down and then add materials, alternating between moist and dry. Fresh cut grass or fruits and veggies can be good for the moist layers. Hay or paper make good dry ingredients. You may need to occasionally add water, but make sure your compost pile is moist and not wet. It’s also important to keep your compost covered so rain stays out and heat stays in. Composting is most effective between 120 and 160 degrees. Finally, turn the pile every few weeks so oxygen can make its way though.

You may now be wondering what makes for good composting material? Well, here's the general rule of thumb: one-third nitrogen-based items, two-thirds carbon-based items. Nitrogen-based items are typically green. Fruits and vegetables are nitrogen-based. Carbon-based items are typically brown. Think about old paper towel rolls or leaves, those are carbon-based items. Here's a tip to remember as your adding both types of compost materials. Nitrogen-based items smell when they decompose. Carbon-based items, typically, do not. So if your compost pile smells bad, you'll want to add some brown materials to mask the green smells.  Here's a handy guide:

Nitrogen Items (GREEN)

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grass clippings
  • Feathers
  • Flowers (fresh)
  • Coffee grounds

Carbon Items (BROWN)

  • Napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton
  • Corncobs
  • Eggshells
  • Dryer lint

ITEMS TO AVOID

  • Pet/animal feces
  • Meat
  • Rice
  • Dead plants
  • Colored paper

The best part of composting, by the way, is that by this time next year you'll have a pretty impressive amount of free, eco-friendly fertilizer to use around your garden.

For even more information on composting and what you need to know, visit our friends at personalcreations.com