What is composting? Composting is where leftovers or scraps are processed and reused to be more productive and environmentally sustainable. People, who are new to composting, however, may ask how do you begin or start DIY composting? In this article, we will look at what composting is and how one can start the process of composting.
Composting: A Brief Introduction
Composting is the conversion of food leftover and scraps into the soil that is usable. The said process may turn off other individuals and may even make those who are squeamish give up on the concept of composting altogether as the stuff composting starts out with, namely food scraps and leftovers, can be downright smelly and disgusting. Composting once accomplished, can, on the other hand, be one of the most rewarding things we can for mother nature. It can help reduce wastage of food, help make leftover and scrap food items on its way to the landfill become usable once again and it is also nice to see the lifecycle of food which, while it did not feed people, will now feed plants.
Composting is accomplished by having microorganisms break down and process organic food matter such as eggshells, fruit peels, and leftover stems. This process of composting can help produce soil that is rich in nutrients that can serve as a healthy base for many different plants. In addition, composting can contribute to the reduction of food wastage.
Composting: How To’s and Things to Consider
As mentioned earlier in the article, composting can at first be smelly, dirty and disgusting for some beginners. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. With some of these how to’s, people can do their composting like a pro without feeling overwhelmed when they compost for the first time.
1. Food items that can and can’t be composted
People who wish to take up composting must be familiar with food items that can be and can’t be composted. Certain items such as the following should be avoided as they can lead to pests being attracted or drawn to the compost product.:
- Pet feces
On the other hand, vegetables and fruits are A-ok and all clear for composting and can be included into the composting mix without getting worried about the above-mentioned pests.
Including eggshells into the compost is good practice as it can provide the finished product with calcium. This can also be applied to various shelled seafood. The meat of these food items should not be included in the compost, but their shells should ideally be. In addition, processed food items should be added in controlled quantities as the compost might not fully decompose properly.
2. Browns or dry carbon sources are a necessity for composting
Composts don’t usually start out dry especially if veggies and fruits are added. These ingredients will make the compost slimy which requires the addition of substances known as “browns” or dry carbon sources all throughout the composting process. As a general rule, two (2) handful of browns should be added for every (1) handful of veggie scraps and fruit pieces. Dry carbon sources or browns include things such as coffee grounds, leaves, egg cartons, newspapers and brown paper bags. It is recommended though, that waxy or bleached items such as milk cartons and paper towels should be avoided.
3. Composting can be a simple project
For those beginners in the composting game, composting can start with small and simple projects. Individuals who live in apartments may start off with herb boxes or houseplants and have their scarps of leftovers buried in them. For those who love drinking coffee, they can simply add their leftover coffee grounds to their plants. Through this process, the soil can be fortified with materials that are organic without doing much legwork.
4. Further composting projects will require some equipment
Other bigger composting projects may not need any outdoor space but it will require individuals to purchase some equipment. One of the first options for people who wish to do more composting is to find a compost drop-off zone or a garden in their locale with a program on composting. Once a garden or a drop-off zone has been identified, a small bucket with a lid will be necessary to gather and collect their food scraps and leftovers.
As stated earlier, individuals should add in browns as they see fit and have the collected compost dropped off in the designated area on a weekly basis. This is because compost should not be sealed for long as they can turn slimy and become smelly. Another workaround is to drop off their compost buckets on a weekly basis and place their compost buckets in their freezer. This will ensure that the compost mix stays fresh and will not make the space smelly or stinky.
5. For people with an outdoor area, composting can be accomplished in their own yard
One of the most basic ways to start a composting process at home is to come up with a compost bin in the yard. Creating a compost bin starts off by having holes drilled into the bottom of a large-sized bin. Once the holes have been drilled, the bin can then placed standing. Then layers of browns placed at the bottom of the bin. After it has been set up, scraps can then be added periodically. With the mixture being stirred by a rake or any other tool to ensure that the compost will decompose properly and faster.