The Dirt on Composting

EPATwo weeks ago, we told you about the problem of food waste and ways you can reduce that and how we are helping in this process.  When you can’t reduce the waste or reuse it, composting can make a big impact on reducing the waste in landfills (where it often creates greenhouse gases).  So we’re going to give you the real dirt on composting today.

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So what’s the point of composting?  Not only does it reduce food waste in landfills, but it’ll eventually create rich, fertile dirt for your own garden or plants.  You can also use it as mulch, which may help reduce plant diseases.

What goes into composting?  There are four essential ingredients – oxygen, moisture, carbon, and nitrogen.  Oxygen will be provided by the air around us and moisture by rain.  Nitrogen can be provided by green things, such grass clippings.  Livestock manure also provides nitrogen.  Carbon  can be added by throwing brown materials, like twigs and dried leaves into the pile.  So not only can you put in all of your food waste, but all of your yard waste too!  Things you want to avoid – meat scraps that will attract animals; pet feces, which can carry disease; and diseased plants.

How long will this take?  If you plan on piling the materials in a corner of your lawn, it’ll likely take a year or so to create the rich dirt you’ll want to use.  If you are willing to put in some time every few days to tend to the pile, you could have fertile ground in just a few weeks.  USDA has more information on this method.

EPA also has some great resources to help you get started.

 

 

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