Composting 101: Getting Started

Composting is an important part of zero waste and sustainable living. It helps reduce the amount of waste coming out of our home, as it turns food scraps and other compostable waste into fertilizer. It is especially significant because of what happens when potentially composted food is wasted and sent to a landfill – it doesn’t have the optimum conditions to decompose (mainly because of lacking access to oxygen). It rots away producing methane – a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than CO2 in the short term.

If you are looking to decrease your carbon footprint, composting and other zero waste techniques are something you should certainly pick up. Thankfully, you no longer need a garden (or even a balcony) to compost your waste! Composting has evolved massively over the past several decades.

The first step on your journey should be choosing the best composting method for you. If you don’t have access to a garden or any other outdoor space, a worm bin will likely be one of the best options for you. If you have a balcony or terrace, a compost tumbler may also be a good option, as it makes turning the compost easy in a compact space.

If you have a garden or some other outdoor space, you have a wider range of options to choose from aside from the ones we already mentioned. If you’re on a budget, having a compost pile in the corner of your garden is the practical option, although it can be quite visually unpleasant. If you have a smaller garden or want to hide your compost a little better, an open or closed bin hides your compost nicely although the latter makes it harder to turn. In an urban setting, composting companies offer subscription services to pick up your assigned compost buckets*.

Once you’ve chosen the best method for you, you’ll want to learn about what can and can’t be added to your compost.

DO compost:

· Vegetable and fruit scraps

· Fruit pits

· Nut shells (except walnut shells)

· Non-coloured newspapers

· Cardboard

· Hair

· Dust and dryer lint

· Stale dry pet food

· Eggshells

· Natural fabrics (cotton, linen…)

· Cork

· Leaves and non-diseased garden waste

· Pet bedding from herbivores

NOT to compost:

· Animal products (meat, dairy…)

· Pet droppings from omnivorous animals

· Diseased garden waste

· Glossy paper

Note that some of the more sturdy materials, such as avocado pits or bush trimmings, may need to be broken up into smaller parts before being composted.

We wish you good luck on your composting journey! Which method will you be choosing?

A few companies that offer composting services:

Google search composting services to find a provider or collective near you! Happy sustainability!

Written by Guest Author, a sustainability expert. Edits & added notes by Steph Powers, Msc, Holistic Nutritionist.

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