|Traditionally, home-composting has been perceived as a practice exclusive to rural homes or farmlands. We are here to tell you that this is not the case. |
While rural homes may have a bit of an upper hand, urban composting is becoming increasingly popular due to all the incredible benefits it has to offer on a micro and macro scale.
In this piece, we will explore the wonderful world of home-composting, the importance of being astute with waste management and how you can get started at home.
The benefits of home composting:|
Shrinking your waste footprint:
Composting allows us to shrink our carbon and waste footprint. By collecting food scraps for composting you could reduce up to 60% of your waste going into landfill. Something we don’t often consider is the distance that our waste needs to travel to go into landfill, minimising waste is also helping to reduce the carbon tracks of our local rubbish trucks.
Composting nourishes the microbes that protect against some plant diseases. The health of the soilis also related to a lot of things on a macro scale such as climate change and a lot of the issues we are facing in our environment today. Simply caring for the dirt in our backyard can help to reverse our impact.
Food waste that is going into landfill is being deprived of the oxygen it needs to break down correctly and as a result is releasing methane. From an emissions perspective, this is hugely concerning, as methane is 30 times more potent than greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
Becoming more self-sufficient and responsible for our waste management is not only rewarding but an act of kindness to mother earth.
Getting started at home.
It is best to start by creating a system for collecting a 50/50 mix of “green” and “brown” materials. The brown — woody matter like leaves, bark, paper, and sawdust which is high in carbon. The green matter — food scraps, green leaves and coffee grounds which are high in nitrogen. We recommend purchasing a small bin for food scraps to put in the kitchen, something as simple as this one here will do the trick. The filter will stop it from smelling which means it can sit on your bench for a few days before adding to the compost.
It is important to note that not all food scraps should go into your compost. Things to include are plant-based kitchen scraps such as tea bags (check what they bag mesh is made from - some are synthetic/plastic), banana peels, apple cores, potato peelings, eggshells and old bread, are all fantastic sources of nitrogen needed to decompose more bulky, carbon-rich landscape waste. Things to avoid are animal products such as meat, bones, butter, milk, fish skins.
These organic materials are piled up to form a compost heap. With the luxury of larger gardens, these can often be left alone as contained heaps, however, in more urban areas the use of compost boxes, bins and tumblers are easier to set up and maintain for smaller spaces.
The right compost for you
Compost boxes are simply constructed and can often be made at home with leftover wood or pallets, you can find an easy to follow 10 minute DIY here.
Compost bins have air openings on the sidewalls and a lid on top, a cheap and tidy option for those starting out and typically take around 2 -3 months to compost. A compost tumbler is a sealed compost unit with an aerated drum to turn the compost, often cycling through batches in about 6 – 8 weeks.
Compost tumblers are suitable for those wanting a more heavy-duty option as tumblers are made with more durable material, however, this comes at a higher price.
The next step to think about is the location of your compost bin. It is best to find a level, well-drained spot that allows you to compost discretely. In warmer/dry latitude’s like Australia, it’s recommended to shelter the pile in a shadier spot so it doesn’t dry out too quickly. In rare cases they can spontaneously combust if they get too hot.
The last thing but more important step is maintenance. When adding fresh material to your compost be sure to mix it in with the lower layers to reach an appropriate moisture level (materials should be as wet as a wrung-out sponge). If compost gets to dry you should add more green waste (kitchen scraps or lawn clippings) or can add a little water to rebalance. You should aim to mix (or turn, if you have a tumbler) your compost once a week to assist with the breakdown process and eliminate odour. Then watch the magic happen!
The state of our environment is daunting to think about, but it is our reality and more often than not we feel helpless to lead any sort of change. Something as simple as composting is proof that making only a few small changes to our household practices, we have the power to make a positive change each day. Which is a very good place to start!