Composting Basics

According to the EPA, food scraps and yard waste currently make up to 20 to 30 percent of landfills where it takes up space and creates harmful methane emissions. Only 3% of us compost food waste. 

All organic matter eventually decomposes, so instead of sending your organic waste to a landfill, COMPOST it!  You’ll make a natural nutrient-rich compost your flowers and plants will love. And since you won’t need chemical fertilizers, you’ll help the environment even more.

When composting, simply remember three colors:

  1. BROWN
  2. GREEN
  3. BLUE

In a bin, layer the BROWNS and GREENS in alternating layers of different-sized particles, then add just the enough BLUE (WATER) to keep it all damp like a wrung-out sponge.  Wait a few months and …. viola! … at the bottom you’ll have compost ready to use.

 

Watch this short 2 minute video “How to Get Started with Composting” by Mother Nature Network to see how easy it’s done!

 

BROWNS to compost:

  • Nut shells
  • Hay and straw
  • Dry leaves
  • Sawdust
  • Wood chips
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Cardboard and non-glossy paper (torn into pieces)
  • Yard trimmings and twigs
  • Hair and fur
  • Fireplace ashes

GREENS to compost:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Grass clippings
  • Green leaves
  • Houseplants

Stuff you shouldn’t compost because they create odors and attract rodents and flies:

  • Dairy products
  • Fats, grease, oils
  • Meat & fish scraps
  • Pet waste, cat litter

Additional Resources

Here are some links to ideas and tips to get you started:

Nine Creative Composting Ideas from the Huffington Post.

23 Ingenious DIY Compost Bin Ideas from backyardgrowers.com. 

Explore Composting Bins on Pinterest.

Don’t have a backyard? We’ve got you covered! Here are some links for easy indoor composting:

The How-To Compost Guide for City Dwellers at zipcar.com. 

How To Make Your Own Indoor Compost Bin from apartmenttherapy.com. 

How to Compost in the City from unclejimswormfarm.com.   

 

 

Also read our blog “How to Reduce Food Waste at Home” for tips on reducing the amount of food you buy and prepare.