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Reduce Your Waste and Compost

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

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.

Join The Conversation
amandasunly amandasunly 10 years
We do composting in school! Really cool. At home... well I live on a seventh-floor apartment so I don't really do this. Lol.
Fitness Fitness 10 years
In cities and apartment, you can do worm composting (using Red Wriggler Worms you order for $39.95 - NOT earth worms you dig up). It takes a lot longer to compost your scraps, which means you can't add a lot at one time, but definitely worth looking into. You can construct a home for you worms yourself out of a big plastic tub, but this Worm Chalet for $159.00 might be a better option. Interested? Here's some more info on worm composting.
lorioz lorioz 10 years
Thanks for this! I think that there might be a concern about wild dogs being attracted to it... but I'll talk to the other people in my building and see if we can get something together.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
lorioz... I would talk to your landlord about using a small chunk of the property...then see if anyone else wants to go in on it with you. You need to have a good mix of carbon and nitrogen based things. Nitrogen based things are like food scraps, coffee grounds, green grass, etc. Carbon based things are dead leafs and grass, paper (i don't have trees, so I use a lot of shredded paper), wood chips, etc. So, having your property manager in on it might be good...they might even be glad to have a place to dump grass clippings and leafs and such. I also heard you should leave dairy products out for the same reasons as the meat and bones. And cover up any food scraps with dry material. I hate to advertise for my own blog (again), but I did a thing on my own compost pile, and have some good links on there (Although the Master Composter one isn't great anymore because they shut off their links!) I really love that we started ours this year. Food scraps were the last thing in my garbage can along with the plastic wrapping stuff and waxy I can go even longer before I have to take the garbage out.
lorioz lorioz 10 years
I'd love to compost, but I live in a building... any suggestions?
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