Composting for a Smaller Ecological Footprint

            Composting your food waste has numerous benefits. Besides reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving water, reducing stormwater pollution, and conserving landfill space, it can make your daily life better. When you aren’t throwing out food waste, your trashcan odor is significantly reduced, and if you use the compost you create, your gardens will get natural nutrients to grow without the help of fertilizers. With a small lifestyle change, composting can be a simple way to live better. Once you have a system in place, it won’t feel like a time-consuming chore, but a daily habit.

 Here are some easy starting steps to begin your composting routine:

Collect while cooking

You can collect your food scraps while preparing meals with the help of a large bowl or Tupperware container. In our home, in Richmond, Virginia, we use a large bowl throughout the day and empty it into a larger bin on our porch at the end of the night. You can also collect it in a Tupperware container with a lid and place it in the refrigerator if it has to stay in the house for a couple of days. Vegetables, fruits, nut milk, crackers, cereals, etc. are all great composting medians, but you want to avoid composting meat due to bacterial concerns.

A dumping ground

You will have to choose a place for your compost pile, preferably somewhere relatively out of sight. You will also need to decide what kind of container will best suit your needs. We purchased these Compost Bins by GEOBIN from Amazon and have been happy with them.

There are numerous options- wire, wood, plastic, tumblers, etc. you can decide what will work best for your budget and space. We like GEOBIN’s compost bins because you can easily undo the clips to remove the walls for mixing and moving.

Composting

Once you have a dedicated space set-up, it is time to compost. The magic of composting is that you don’t have to do very much. You simply dump your food waste in its designated spot and let nature do the rest. After a few weeks, you will want to mix the pile. You may see it steaming due to the aerobic process that takes place as organic matter rots. It’s pretty incredible to see your food scraps go from waste to nutrient-rich soil.

Putting it to use

So you’ve collected, dumped, and composted, what do you do now? Compost has been deemed as “Black Gold” because of all its beneficial properties. You can place it in flower beds

vegetable gardens, and potted houseplants. Anywhere you need soil; you can use your compost. In Richmond, Virginia, we used our compost as our garden’s primary form of dirt, and in just a few short weeks, our garden has quadrupled in size. Our old food scraps are helping make new food, incredible, right?

                                               

Final Thoughts

Composting is about giving back what we take from the earth. It is a cyclical process; we grow food and create waste, but instead of letting it sit in a landfill releasing methane, we can compost it, put it back to the earth and grow more food.

Like many Richmond City dwellers, if you live in an apartment, it can be difficult to compost because of the lack of outdoor space. Talk with your landlord or management company about starting a community compost pile. Depending on your situation, a communal outdoor area or a rooftop garden may be the perfect spot for a compost pile. If you would like more information on starting a community or private compost pile, contact us today!

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