Tag Archives: compost

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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Filed under Composting, Food Waste, Healthy Living

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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Filed under Composting, Food Waste, Recycling

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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Filed under Composting, Energy Conservation

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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Filed under Composting, Healthy Living

Top Eco-Lifestyle Changes

1. Compost, Compost, Compost.  Start a compost pile or the use of a compost bin and make the most of your food scraps and lawn trimmings. 

2. Give Up Bottled Water. The production of plastic water bottles and the impact on landfills is significant. The long-term hazards of drinking from plastic bottles is still not fully known.

3. Walk Or Ride Your Bike. – walk your kids to school, walk or ride your bike to work and short errands. Reduce your carbon footprint and tone up by ditching the car keys.

4. Commit to Conservation. Wasting resources costs the planet and your wallet. Don’t overheat or overcool your home–a few degrees make a huge difference. Use a clothesline or manual spin dryer to dry your clothes instead using the dryer.

5. Turn it off – turn off those appliances. Turn off the lights you aren’t using. Switch the TV off at the plug each night and don’t leave your laptops and mobiles plugged in all day everyday. Not only will you be helping the environment but you will notice a difference in your energy bill.

6. Plant a tree or small plant. -  If you have a yard, plant a tree in your yard. If you do not have a yard, make a windowsill planter with a small plant. If every house in America planted one tree in their yard, it would improve air quality by 40 percent.

 7. Insulate your home. - By insulating your home you can cut your energy use dramatically. It follows that you’ll save yourself lots of money too.

 8. Start Recycling. – Get everyone involved. You can recycle not only consumer waste, but old clothes can be given new life by donating to a worthy cause.

9. Be an Green Advocate. – Teach those around you – Make sure your family, your children and your friends know the importance of making small changes in their lives that can considerably reduce their carbon footprint.

10. Ditch the Aerosol. - Stop using aerosol cans when possible. Aerosol cans deplete the ozone layer. Use spray bottles instead.

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Healthy Living, Recycling, Sustainable Goods, Water Conservation

Top Green Resolutions for 2012

Kick-off he New Year right with a these green living tips:

A new year is starting; it is now time to reflect on the past and look to the future and set new resolutions. Some of these green tips you may already know or already integrate them into your daily daily life. If you are currently not doing any of the following, even if you only follow a few of these easy tips,  you will save money, time and energy. You will find that these eco-friendly green resolutions are surprisingly simple to implement.

  1. Replacing Appliances – When your next appliance breaks down and can not be repaired, be buy an energy efficient replacement.
  2. CFL Light Bulbs—You can save over 50% of your energy use for lighting by replacing traditional, incandescent light bulbs with a Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL).
  3. Reduce Vampire Power Loss – Never leave anything on standby. Switch off PCs and TVs when not in use. And unplug your mobile phone charger when you’re not using it. Leaving appliances on standby wastes at least 6% of domestic electricity use.  Also look into the use of smart power management products.
  4. Use Re-usable Water Bottle  –  Utilize refillable bottles for drinking water to help reduce the millions of gallons in crude oil required to produce and distribute plastic bottles, that otherwise would take thousands of years to decompose.
  5. Reduce, Reuse & Recycle -  The new year usually means out with the old and in with the new – but don’t be so hasty. Don’t let those items end up in the waste stream by recycling and reusing what you already have – one of the most eco friendly things you can do is look after what you already have or finding a new home for the item.
  6. Better Thermostat Use – In many parts of the country, the heating and cooling portion of your utility bill makes up over 50% of your utility bill. Reduce you bills by 10%-15% by adjusting the thermostat by 2 – 3 degrees. You can can also reduce your cooling costs by 30% in the summer by implementing a flash evaporation system.
  7. Buy Organic and Local – As a partial replacement to fast food and chain supermarkets, try organic and local produce from your local farmer’s market. The production of organic food causes much less environmental damage than conventional agriculture and also helps to reduce pollution by cutting down on food miles which contribute to climate change.
  8. Use Green Household Cleaning Products – Eliminate the use of cleaners that utilize Phosphates, which have known environmental negative impact.Many conventional household cleaning products contain chemicals and phosphates.
  9. Reduce Car Use and Cut Car Pollution – Over 50% of all car trips are less than 4 miles, which is an ideal distance to be covered by bicycle.
  10. Use Re-usable Grocery Bags – Plastic bags cause as much, if not more economic damage of plastic water bottles, showing up in water ways and landfills. By using a re-usable grocery bag, you can reduce the amount of plastic bags that end up in the landfill by 5 – 8 bags per trip.
  11. Re-use plastic bags— It may be hard to completely avoid ever buying or having plastic bags around, but to minimize using more you can do a few simple things. If you have pets you can keep a drawer full of these bags and take them with you when you venture out with Fido. Another use for plastic bags is using them as trash bags in the smaller waste pails like the laundry room or the bathroom.
  12. Composting – Composting is nature’s recycling program, a process by which natural materials decompose as a result of natural chemical reactions or be aided by fungi, bacteria and insects. An excellent way to reduce the amount of food waste that will end up in the landfill by using an outdoor composter. If you live in an apartment or have limited space, a indoor composting system may be a good solution.

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