Thursday, October 9, 2008

#27 The miracle of Rot. (Composting)

Did you know that up to 40% of American's waste that goes to the landfills is compostable? I am posting this after my canning and gardening posts because those are some things that I do that create a whole bunch of organic waste (no, not "Organic" in the product sense, I'm just talking about living stuff- or stuff that was once living.) Composting is one of the most environmentally friendly practices out there. That "waste" can be turned into something extremely useful while at the same time preventing so much stuff from going to the dump. There was a recent post at 5 Minutes for going green that has some great information on composting.

It really isn't difficult to compost. The minimum requirement is a place to put a decent sized pile. You can get one of these fancy compost tumblers, but they are not necessary. What we had is a round flexible bottomless bin that was provided by the city. This summer we outgrew that, and now have one gigantic pile that is rotting away beautifully and will make our garden and lawn next year very healthy. In the past we've put quite a bit of money into bags of compost purchased from gardening centers. Again, I'm not here to tell you exactly how to compost, because there are so many sources of information on that. I just want to encourage you to try it.

One more thing: Why not flush all that kitchen waste down the garbage disposal? It takes a lot of water and electricity to do that. Puting it in a bucket and walking out to the compost pile only takes a little walking, and who can't use more of that?

Pros: Prevents a huge amount of waste from going to the landfills and creating methane gas. Saves a lot of trash bags. Less stinky trash in your kitchen. It's creating something that is great to put back into the earth and make things grow. You can get paper products that are compostable.

Cons: Yard waste needs to be chipped small enough that it will decompose at a reasonable rate. Without a big enough pile, you may not create enough heat to kill off seeds in the compost and can end up with things growing in your compost (not that this is really that big a deal). Our compost bin in our kitchen has to be emptied frequently and attracts a lot of fruit flies.

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