I LOVE compost. In college I lived in an environmental co-op where we cooked all our own meals (much better than the dining halls), and composted all our leftovers and food scraps into fertilizer that we used in our organic garden. I know it sounds kind of crunchy, but it was super cool.
Composting provides a way to reduce the amount of waste that would otherwise crowd our landfills. When you throw your orange peels, carrot tops, and cantaloupe seeds into the garbage, they end up rotting away in plastic garbage bags that take forever to breakdown. When you compost, tiny organisms, like earthworms, fungi, and bugs help to break down your food scraps into luscious rich fertilizer, so you recycle valuable nutrients back into the soil.
What you'll need to start is a compost bin. There are tons of different kinds and you can even build your own. If you're new to this you may just want to purchase one so you can get started right away.
This is called the Big Round Compost Bin. For $99, it's cheaper than other bins because it takes a little bit more effort and time to turn your scraps into compost (you have to stir it with a pitchfork once a day).
It's made of extremely flexible material with no base, so the juices can flow into the ground. It also has a lid to keep out animals, and can open from the bottom so you can access the compost once it's ready.
Want to see what a Tumbler looks like? Then read more
This is the Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler. Tumblers are great because you can spin the scraps and keep them aerated, which helps to make compost quicker than bins.
This one is a bit more expensive though, $189.99, but if you're a gardener, think of all the money you'll save on fertilizer. Plus you'll feel good knowing you're helping to reduce the amount of waste you contribute to land fills, which will make a better world for your children.
Now what? Save your food scraps in a little bowl or bucket. Collect everything you would normally throw away like ends of cucumbers, pepper tops, squash seeds, egg shells, and even foods that have gone rotten in the fridge can be composted. Just don't add bones or meat - they'll attract pesky flies, rats, and larger critters to your bin.
Break up melon rinds, citrus and banana peels and make sure to add leaves, grass clippings, or shredded newspaper to help aerate your pile. Also water your compost if it starts to look dry. That's it. Spin or stir your compost once a day and pretty soon you'll have dark, rich fertilizer.
Check out this video on the Tumbleweed Compost Bin.