Compost! This includes things like food scraps, grass, yard clippings, dead plants. It breaks down into wonderful, rich soil, and keeps waste out of the landfill.
Composting is very easy to do – all you need is some sort of composting bin outside. Check out my article on What You Need to Get Started With Composting.
You can compost all sorts of organic materials, from orange peels to tea bags, avoiding things like greasy items. You don’t want to compost things like cheese or meat. And avoid anything that might take a really long time to break down, such as a coconut shell or even pistachio shells.
Maintenance consists of watering, turning, and adding things like grass clippings or leaves. You want to find a good balance of composted foods, as well as things like yard waste.
Spring is a great time of year to begin composting if you are starting out. It will fill up quickly especially if you frequent farmer’s markets or are a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture share – check out localharvest.org to find one near you), and coincides well with doing yard work and gardening.
Where can you find compost bins? Some towns offer discounted compost bins (although I have not found any local towns near me that do), or you can check with local garden supply stores. Last year I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice bin at BJ’s Wholesale Club for a decent price. You can of course purchase bins online, and Amazon.com might be a good option as they offer free shipping on many items over $25, and offer a variety of bins, including these classic bins like the Soil Saver Classic Compost bin or the Redmon Culture 65 Gallon Compost Bin.
You may also want to think about getting an indoor composting crock for the kitchen counter, which makes it convenient to toss items into until you can make one bigger trip to the compost bin. This goes for everything from some crackers my toddler dropped on the floor to watermelon rinds and corn cobs from a summer cookout. The indoor bin is especially handy in the winter, when I continually procrastinate taking out the compost (our winters in the Northeast can be particularly bitter). The compost probably won’t be active (breaking down) during the winter months, but you can continue to add to the bin so that you have more volume when the weather warms up. I recommend something like a Ceramic or Stainless Steel compost crock, or more recently I tried a BioBag Composting Bucket with biodegradable bags, and I love it. This way, you take the whole bag to the compost bin – no cleanup required (just don’t leave a lot of wet items in it that will cause the bottom of the bag to break down).
And soon enough, you will have amazing compost that you can use for your lawn or garden! My toddler is a great helper with the compost and knows the difference between garbage, recycling, and compost.
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