We Dig Composting (via “Eating Well” Magazine)

Reading one of my favorite magazines “Eating Well – July/August 2020), I came across this amazing article about the environmental impacts of composting. I’m going to share a few points that author Rachel Stearns made in her article.

“More food makes its way into landfills and combustion facilities than any other material in everyday trash, resulting in over 76 billion pounds of waste each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And because not enough air gets circulated through that trash, the food ends up releasing methane—a greenhouse gas that’s up to 36 times more potent than carbon dioxide—as it breaks down. There is, however, a solution: composting. Because compost is produced aerobically, it doesn’t create methane like an anaerobic landfill. Efforts are ramping up across the country, with some cities and states now mandating composting.”

Composting is super easy. Anyone can do it.

“All Composting Starts in the Kitchen. Keep a small airtight bin or countertop composter in your kitchen to put food scraps in. When it’s full, transfer the contents outside. If fruit flies are an issue, store scraps in a sealable bag in the fridge or freezer and bring outside when full. Here’s what you want to collect in the bin for composting:
■ Fruit and vegetable peels
■ Stems and scraps (raw and cooked)
■ Eggshells
■ Tea bags (without staples) and coffee filters
■ Greasy pizza boxes (tear into pieces first)
■ Napkins, paper towels and paper bags
■ Fats, oils and dairy products
■ Compostable single-use products”

Other composting options include curbside composting. This option seems to be readily available in bigger cities. Contact your Municipal trash service or do a google search of curbside composting in your area.

If you live in the suburbs or a rural area, you can easily set up a composting area in your backyard.

“If you’ve got outdoor space, and especially if you have a garden, create your own compost system. (Free fertilizer!)
• Prep. Set up a store-bought compost bin or build one out of inexpensive materials,
such as wood pallets, chicken wire or a trash bin.
• Layer. To get things going, you’ll need to add both “green” and “brown” materials. Greens are primarily produce scraps and eggshells, but also include coffee grounds, plant clippings and weeds; they contain high levels of nitrogen. Browns are carbon-rich materials, such as leaves, sticks, wood shavings and hay—along with items like coffee filters and most types of paper and cardboard. Add “browns” in a 3:1 ratio to “greens” to help keep odors and pests at bay.
• Water. You’ll also need to add some water, says Buxton: “A good compost pile will have about the same level of moisture as a wrung-out sponge.”
• Turn. Use a pitchfork or shovel to turn over the compost regularly. This adds oxygen, which the micro organisms— bacteria, fungi and mold that are naturally present—need to break down the food scraps without creating odor.
• Use. It takes at least six months for compost to break down. When it’s ready, it’ll look like soil or coffee grounds—aka black gold—and smell earthy.”

Small changes can lead to BIG environmental impacts. Since most of us are home more often these days, this is a great time to get started with composting!

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