If you’re one of the millions of people who compost at home, at work, and even when traveling; or if you’re considering launching a compost program this season, consider this: 7 percent of household waste, on average, can be composted. If every family, hotel, business, restaurant, and school were to compost all 81 items on this list of Things You Can Compost, from Networx, that percentage multiplies impressively. Who knew that you can compost dryer lint, tea bags, stale chips, expired jam, Q-tips (not plastic ones), matches, nail clippings, and even condoms (not latex), and dead flies from your windowsill?
Here’s more, from Practically Green’s Compost Food Waste action, worth a tidy 100 points.
It’s nothing short of miraculous to literally watch your garbage bag deflate–as if on a diet–simply because you compost scraps rather than send them to a landfill. Food is biodegradable (well maybe Twinkies aren’t), but in order for it to break down in a landfill, it needs access to a basic combination of air, water, light, microbes, and enzymes. Unfortunately these aren’t readily available in an overstuffed landfill. As kitchen scraps struggle to break down in non-optimal conditions, they create methane, a greenhouse gas at least 20 times more heat-absorbent than CO2.
It’s far better to collect the scraps and turn them into valuable humus for plants and gardens.
What you want to compost will affect the kind of system you’ll set up. For veggie scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, and other uncooked food, a simple system will do. If you want to compost meat, fish, or cooked food, you’ll need a hot composter, bokashi system, or worm bin.
You can make your own composter or buy one at a garden center or online.
Urbanites can compost! You don’t need a yard. Worm bins tuck into most corners with no smell or mess. There are also automatic composters ideal for apartment dwellers.
A fantastic no-fuss option is compost drop-off. Increasingly–especially in urban areas–there are community drop off points and even municipal pick up. Check with your farmers’ market or community garden for local details.
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- EPA: Basic Information — Composting
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