Day 17/30 Less Waste Challenge: Compost!

Now that you are eating less packaged stuff, you're probably going to have more produce. Hopefully if you are buying from the local farmer's market, you are getting fresh items, and are eating them up quickly to avoid food waste. Food waste is a big problem in this country. Tyler replaces beer orders at local grocery stores, and this past weekend saw 10-20 pallets FULL of food that was going to be tossed. We are so fortunate to live in a time when food is plentiful. We do not have to go far to find some, in most cases. Now, whether all can afford it is another issue, but food itself is found throughout our grocery stores. But many consumers are interested in the "normal" looking produce and will over look oddly shaped fruits and vegetables. For example, lonely bananas are rarely taken as people prefer a bunch. Those single bananas are then tossed. We always try to get the funky shaped, lonely items because they need love too! And taste the same! But what happens when you maybe didn't get to all of the salad you made earlier in the week and now it's getting slimey? Or your used coffee grounds? Or the outer most layers of the onion? COMPOST it! 

Here are some quick tips on compost:

  1. Know what is safe to go into compost and what is not:
SAFE:
  • All fruits
  • All vegetables
  • Egg shells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Lint (yep, from your dryer)
  • Dust you vacuumed or swept
  • Hair
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Branches
  • Pretty much all organic materials

NOT SAFE:

  • All animal products like meat and dairy
  • Animal and Human waste
  • Non-organic material, like plastic 
  • Paper
      2. How to compost:

  • I recommend some sort of container for the kitchen. We used 2 used Folger cans previously. We just bought a nice compost container recently. 
  • Figure out how you are going to breakdown the materials into compost. Here are a few ideas:
                 -Use your city's compost program. My city recently launched one and it has been really successful!
                 -Start a pile. You can have a "cold" pile that just sits and it will eventually break down. If you want it to go a little faster, get chickens and have them hang near there. Our chickens eat our food the we compost, then they do their business on top of the compost pile, and we have gold fertilizer! We empty ours out every fall. 
                -Turn that pile! There are contraptions you can buy that tumble the compost in order to make it breakdown faster. You also can literally turn it, knowing the items on the bottom will be more broken down. You can have 2 piles. One that you put items in first, then another you put items in second. You empty from the first one when it breaks down, then the second, and so forth. 
                -Heat that pile! If you want it to breakdown really fast you can add certain amendments and even put plastic over it(preferably something re-used!) to create like a green house and get it all super hot. 
                -Get worms! Worm bins are great for smaller apartments or homes. They do need climate control so they are best indoors. They will gradually eat all of your food scraps and shredded paper. If you do not overfill the bins, there is no smell to it. 

So what will you do once everything is broken down? Add it back in your garden beds or to your indoor plants. It is the most amazing fertilizer!



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