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 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
- 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.