Many people nowadays are green-concious. We all want our planet and its natural resources to last far beyond our years here, so we’ve become much better at taking care of it. Recycling more, using energy-efficient processes inside our homes, and car pooling are some of the things that we’ve gotten much better at over the years.
America the Trashy
Although Americans are getting much better at recycling, there’s one thing that we still have a problem with: garbage. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American creates about 1,600 pounds of garbage per year. That figure doesn’t even include industrial or commercial waste – only household waste. While you can decrease your contribution by using reusable grocery bags, buying products with less packaging, and recycling as much as possible, you can also start composting.
Composting is a great way to take some of your trash and turn it into treasure. If you have a big enough yard for a compost pile, it’s best to put it in a shady spot. If you live in a town or city, don’t fret! You can create a small compost bucket on your deck or patio, or even inside. Once your compost is ready, you can use it on plants, for your yard, in your garden, or even to sell or give to neighbors.
Starting Your Pile or Bin
So, how do you start your pile? To begin, you’ll need to collect both brown and green scraps. Brown scraps include dead leaves, branches, and twigs, and green scraps include things like fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, and coffee grounds. For a list of what you can compost, visit EarthEasy.com.
Start adding your ingredients to the pile or bin. Make sure any large things are chopped up. If you add anything that’s dry, such as egg shells, dry leaves, pine needles, or cardboard, make sure to add a bit of water. You don’t want to drown the pile, but it won’t work well without some added moisture. Composting in layers of wet and dry can generally keep it pretty moist.
Afraid your pile is going to stink? If you add the right materials, it should not have a strong odor. Just keep in mind that you should never compost any meat or bones. Why? These things will attract pests such as rodents and possums. If your pile is in a spot where it’s ok for it to smell, adding manure can really speed the process along.
Maintaining and Using Your Compost
Depending on what you add to your pile or bin, your compost will typically be ready within half a year. Keeping it covered will help, as a cover keeps in heat and moisture. Also, make sure to give it a good stir once in a while – oxygen is an essential ingredient to any compost pile or bin.
When the bottom of your pile resembles rich soil, it’s ready! Use it in your garden, on your lawn, or on your houseplants. Have some neighbors? If you have enough compost to go around, neighbors can also benefit from your compost for their gardens, plants, or lawns. You may even be able to sell it, depending on its quality and your location.