Category Archives: Composting

How to Use Composting Worms

Did you know that the majority of organic waste can be recycled by worms? A worm composting system can convert over 70% of your home waste into beneficial compost.

How to make a worm composting bin

To make a worm composter, you’ll need:

  • A short, wide plastic bin
  • A drill
  • Sand/gravel
  • Damp, shredded newspaper or straw (for bedding material)
  • Compost worms. You need 1,000 to 2,000

Step one: First you need to drill a holes in the bottom and top of the bin.

Step two: Put up to 10cm of gravel (or sand) in the base of the bin..

Step three: Next, add some of the bedding material (Newspaper or straw).

Step four: Put the worms in a space in the bedding material and add some more bedding on top.

What next?

You can keep the worm composting bin outside but if the temperature drops below 40ºFahrenheit, you’ll need to bring the bin inside. You can keep it in a shed or garage, for example.

Worms can eat foods such as:

  • Used coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Fruit and veg, and their peelings (Not cooked potatoes)
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Leaves
  • Horse/cow manure
  • Egg shells

They can’t eat foods such as:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Oily foods
  • Dairy
  • Rice/pasta
  • Grass
  • Potatoes
  • Cat/dog faeces

You need to distribute the food within the worm bedding. Feed the worms gradually at first. Don’t add more food waste until the previous food has almost all gone. You may need to experiment with the number of worms if you are generating a lot of food waste.

As the bin generates new worms, you’ll be able to add more food.

After around 10 weeks, you’ll be able to remove the finished compost and add it to your garden. Firstly, shift the finished compost to one side of the bin and on the other side where the new space is, add fresh bedding and food waste. Once the worms move over to the clean bedding, you’ll be able to harvest the finished compost.

Worm Composting Issues

Here are some common problems experienced by worm composters and how to avoid or rectify them.

Bin smells

If the bin smells, it may be that there is not enough air, so try adding more air holes. It may also be that there is too much food so ensure that the food is being eaten before you add more. This problem can also be caused by the mixture being too wet so try adding more bedding that is damp (not wet).

Fruit flies

Fruit flies aren’t dangerous but they are a nuisance. This problem is mainly caused by the food being exposed. Make sure that when you add food, you bury it well in the bedding.

Dying worms

If the worms are dying, check that the bedding is not too wet or dry. Also, make sure that there is enough bedding. If there is no bedding, you need to harvest the compost and add fresh bedding.

Ready-made worm composting bins are readily available in a variety of sizes and indoor/outdoor applications.

 

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Benefits of Compostable Bags

Most people are interested in knowing how and why eco-friendly products should be used. The market for plastic bags, bottles, and foodservice products that are biodegradable or compostable is growing at an ever increasing rate. The use of compostable plastics to replace traditional plastics can have many potential positive environmental benefits, such as lower the amount of fossil fuel created products, reducing landfill waste and leading to the development of new innovative sustainable and biodegradable products.

What are the prominent uses of the compostable plastic products? 

  • Food scrap diversion – instrumental in the process of diverting left over food from landfills.
  • Co-collection of food scraps and service ware in institutional and restaurants.

What are the main types of recyclable trash bags?

  • Compostable Trash Bags - This type of bags break down more quickly than biodegradable bags. They will completely decompose under ideal circumstances in 10-45 days.
  • Biodegradable Trash Bags – These kinds of bags break down into CO2 and water when disposed of in commercial landfills. This process can take 1 to 3 years.

What are the key benefits of compostable bags?

  • Easy to identify
  • Designed to fit most common organic collection systems/containers
  • Becomes part of the compost produced
  • Bag design allows for reduced moisture content by up to 25% within 4 – 5 days, which minimizes usual odorous results.

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Green Tip: Compost Your Food Waste

Generally food waste is organic and will decompose, but when mixed with other waste in the landfill food waste actually contributes to the production and release of harmful gases which potentially cause environmental damage. In fact, food scraps are the third largest segment of the waste stream with nearly 26 million tons generated each year. Of the overall waste stream,about 12% is food-related, behind paper and plastic

However, by composting your food waste, you can actually put that waste to good use by putting it back back into the earth. The resulting compost can be used in a variety of different ways to support your yard or garden.

Compostable Food Items:

  • Uncooked vegetables and peelings
  • Salad
  • Fruit
  • Tea bags
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Non-food materials such as plants and flowers, grass clippings, leaves and shredded paper, cardboard.

Non-compostable Food Items:

  • Food which has been cooked. Cooked food, even vegetables, can attract vermin
  • Meat or fish
  • Dairy products
  • Non-food items such as cat or dog litter, large pieces of wood, coal ash
  • Plastics and metals.

How to Compost

You will need to buy or make a compost bin to effectively to manage your waste to create compost. Check with your local municipality for compost bin rebate programs.

Place your compost bin on a level, well-drained area. Make sure that the base of your compost bin is open and place it on soil ideally. This is so that the compost can absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil below easily. It also enables creatures like worms to get into the waste and they help break it down into compost.

Cover the compost bin with a water-proof cover. Every three months you will need to stir the compost pile until it is ready. The process can take anywhere from four to 18 months depending upon your climate and the types of waste in the compost pile. The compost is ready when the compost is a consistent dark brown and develops an earthy smell.

Tips for Composting

  • The ideal composting mixture will be a combination of all the materials in the first list above.
  • Small items tend to compost faster. Cut larger items into smaller pieces to speed the composting process.
  • Add fresh water periodically to maintain the needed moisture level for a healthy compost pile, but do not over-water. If your compost pile gives off a strong odor, add less water and add wood chips or cardboard  to soak up the additional moisture.
  • Access to direct sunlight will speed the composting process.

Easy and Quick Composting

For those that may not want to deal with the physical demands or time it takes for a compost pile to mature, we recommend the use of a tumbling composter. Tumbling is the most effective method for making compost quickly because it evenly mixes nitrogen and carbon materials(green and brown) for optimal eco-interaction. Add the benefit of complete distribution of moisture, air, and organic microbes throughout the batch and you’ll create conditions perfect for express composting. Vented ends provide optimal aeration so this tumbler will help create finished compost 4 to10times quicker than a tradition composting bed. Plus its resistant to animal entry and it’s easy to turn. Just load up the composting drum and tumble it a couple times a week. Nature will do the rest as it creates nutrient rich organic compost in as little as 3 weeks.

If you are interested in a yard composter, you can visit http://www.greenlivingeveryday.com/category-s/40.htm to see our full line of home and garden composting products.

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Food Scrap Diversion Benefits

What is food scrap diversion?

It it widely accepted that food waste and compostable paper comprised 32% of the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) waste stream. Food scrap diversion is a process of turning food scraps and other organic waste into nutrient-rich compost.

Many commercial and institutional facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, and school and hospital cafeterias are now required to have food waste diversion systems in place. Commercial food waste includes raw and cooked food and other compostable organic material from commercial and institutional premises.

Benefits of Food Scrap Diversion Projects:

  • Food scraps are diverted from county landfills, extending the landfill’s life.
  • The environmental impacts of hauling tons of food scraps to county landfill-air pollution, transportation congestion, depletion of fossil fuels-were avoided. The resulting compost was used to improve local soils.
  • As industrial and commercial projects become prevalent, individuals will become more willing to compost their own food scraps at home.
  • Selling the resulting compost will allow for payback for project related costs within a few years.

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Food Waste Composting Tips

ImageGenerally food waste is organic and will decompose, but when mixed with other waste in the landfill food waste actually contributes to the production and release of harmful gases which potentially cause environmental damage. In fact, food scraps are the third largest segment of the waste stream with nearly 26 million tons generated each year. Of the overall aste stream,about 12% is food-related, behind paper and plastic

However, by composting your food waste, you can actually put that waste to good use by putting it back back into the earth. The resulting compost can be used in a variety of different ways to support your yard or garden.

Compostable Food Items:

  • Uncooked vegetables and peelings
  • Salad
  • Fruit
  • Tea bags
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Non-food materials such as plants and flowers, grass clippings, leaves and shredded paper, cardboard.

Non-compostable Food Items:

  • Food which has been cooked. Cooked food, even vegetables, can attract vermin
  • Meat or fish
  • Dairy products
  • Non-food items such as cat or dog litter, large pieces of wood, coal ash
  • Plastics and metals.

How to Compost

You will need to buy or make a compost bin to effectively to manage your waste to create compost. Check with your local municipality for compost bin rebate programs.

Place your compost bin on a level, well-drained area. Make sure that the base of your compost bin is open and place it on soil ideally. This is so that the compost can absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil below easily. It also enables creatures like worms to get into the waste and they help break it down into compost.

Cover the compost bin with a water-proof cover. Every three months you will need to stir the compost pile until it is ready. The process can take anywhere from four to 18 months depending upon your climate and the types of waste in the compost pile. The compost is ready when the compost is a consistent dark brown and develops an earthy smell.

Tips for Composting

  • The ideal composting mixture will be a combination of all the materials in the first list above.
  • Small items tend to compost faster. Cut larger items into smaller pieces to speed the composting process.
  • Add fresh water periodically to maintain the needed moisture level for a healthy compost pile, but do not over-water. If your compost pile gives off a strong odor, add less water and add wood chips or cardboard  to soak up the additional moisture.
  • Access to direct sunlight will speed the composting process.

Easy and Quick Composting For those that may not want to deal with the physical demands or time it takes for a compost pile to mature, we recommend the use of a tumbling composter Tumbling is the most effective method for making compost quickly because it evenly mixes nitrogen and carbon materials(green and brown) for optimal eco-interaction. Add the benefit of complete distribution of moisture, air, and organic microbes throughout the batch and you’ll create conditions perfect for express composting. Vented ends provide optimal aeration so this tumbler will help create finished compost 4 to10 times quicker than a tradition composting bed. Plus its resistant to animal entry and it’s easy to turn. Just load up the composting drum and tumble it a couple times a week. Nature will do the rest as it creates nutrient rich organic compost in as little as 3 weeks.

Checkout our indoor composters and yard composters.

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Benefits of Composting Toilet Systems

Full Life Cycle          

The use of a composting toilet system allows for human waste to become soil amendment for trees, landscaping and non-edible plants.

Reduce Water Use by 20% – 50% sun-mar composting toilet

The reduction in use of reticulated water for flushing, combined with the possible use of grey water can be a significant benefit in reducing home water usage.

Food Waste Management

Composting toilet systems may also be accept certain food waste, which will reduce the amount of food waste that will end up in the landfill.

Reduce Monthly Costs

The use of composting toilet system users benefit from the reduction or elimination of sewage rates and metered water billing, which can result in the savings of $400 – $650 per year.

Location Independence

Systems can be installed in a multitude of environments, including remote, high water table, lack of municipal water supply and environmentally sensitive areas.

Waste Management Facility Infrastructure Reduction

Each composting toilet system that is installed reduces the amount of waste that would need to be transported and treated at the local treatment facility. This will help to reduce some of the capacity and prolong the useful life of existing infrastructure.

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Eco Friendly Pet Litter

Green Your Pet Litter

Recently, with environmental awareness on the rise, there have been some concerns about the environmental impact of animal waste and pet litter. Pet owners are faced with determining how they should dispose of their pet’s waste most responsibly, what type of pet litter they should use, whether they in fact need pet litter and what the best way to dispose of pet litter is.

Commercial Pet Litters

There are a variety of pet litters available to buy in grocery and pet supply stores. The magnitude of choices can make it difficult to know which to choose. Two of the main types of commercial litter are are Clay-Based Pet Litters and “Green’ Pet Litters.

Clay-based pet litter is usually made from an absorbent clay called sodium bentonite. It’s clumping abilities mean that soiled clumps can easily be lifted out by pet owners, without them having to change all the litter in the tray. The only way to dispose of this type of cat litter is to send it to landfill. It can’t be flushed away. Plus, the sodium bentonite that acts as the clumping agent can poison your cat through chronic ingestion through their fastidious need to groom. Because sodium bentonite acts like expanding cement-it’s also used as a grouting, sealing, and plugging material-it can swell up to 15 to18 times their dry size and clog up your cat’s insides.

There are several other issues with the clay-based cat litters. The clay-mining processes used can be quite damaging to the environment.  Clay sediment is also permeated with carcinogenic silica dust that can coat lungs.

There are now a wide range of green pet litters available on the market. They are made of natural or recycled materials such as corn kernels, recycled paper and sawdust. Most green pet litter choices are either biodegradable or can be safely flushed down the toilet. This is a preferable choice for many pet owners who don’t want to contribute to landfill waste.

diy pET LITTER

Many environmentally conscious pet owners prefer to re-use some of their own household waste as litter for pets such as cats, rather than paying for ‘green’ pet litter or, worse, paying for commercial pet litter which is made from harmful chemicals and can only be sent to landfill.

Useful household waste and natural pet litters include:

  • Sawdust
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Shredded newspaper; and
  • Pine leaves

Some pet owners limit their use of pet litter as much as possible. For instance, many cat owners have ‘trained’ their cats to mainly go outside when they need to go! Cats will usually bury their own waste, so do not need to be monitored or cleaned up after in the same way as dogs.

Composting Pet Litter

There is much argument over whether it is safe to compost biodegradable cat and pet litters. The arguments centre around the fact that some pet feces, such as cat and dog droppings, can contain organisms which are dangerous to humans.

However, some experts say that it is safe to compost cat and dog litter ONLY if you compost it separately from the main compost heap and well away from any vegetables. They also suggest burying the actual feces and composting the litter only.

As cat feces can cause potentially fatal toxoplasmosis, a lot of pet owners would prefer to err on the side of caution and do not compost their litter.

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