On May 2nd, 2021, International Compost Awareness Week kicks off and we just can’t wait!
As you know, we love all things earth-friendly, and composting is one of the best ways we can give back to the earth and contribute to the circular ecosystem. After all, most of the products you’ll find here on Go For Zero have compostable packaging!
Unfortunately, compost tends to get a bad rep for its stinky smell and tendency to attract pests, especially here in Australia. However, there are excellent ways to make compost work for your household without sacrificing your backyard haven.
So how do you start your DIY compost and start feeding the earth? Follow along to discover the benefits of compost, how to start, and what waste you can keep out of the landfill!
What is Composting
First things first, let’s clear the air about what composting is and isn’t. The purpose of composting is to feed nutrients back into the soil. We do this by fostering a healthy environment for composting worms to grow and spread their wealth.
By placing things like food scraps and other compost materials in amongst the soil, the worms are able to break down the materials and turn them into nutrients. Your compost can then be used to fertilize your garden and ensure your plants, grass, and other elements of nature are healthy and strong!
Of course, compost is not a magic dumping ground. Your compost bin needs to be fed organic waste products in order to encourage the population of compost worms. Keep reading to discover which products can be composted in your home compost bin.
How to Compost
Now that we understand what composting is, it’s time to get started. As we mentioned earlier, composting can have the reputation of being a smelly job that sends a welcome invitation to pests you may not love having around.
To avoid this, it’s important to invest in a high-quality composting container. Options like the Subpod are actually sunk into the soil to allow worms to move in and out to naturally nourish your garden. Beyond this, the Subpod’s unique design allows airflow to keep your compost odour (and pest) free! Did we mention this composter stops families sending up to 15 kilograms of food waste to landfill each week?!
So first of all, once you’ve got a compost bin ready to go, simply choose a spot and your good to go! We suggest placing your above ground bin (if this is the composter you choose) out of direct sunlight to reduce smells and keep the worms coming around.
We personally love an in-ground composter, because the soil is a great insulator, making composting possible all year round without any bad smells.
If you don’t have a backyard to work with, consider options like the Urban Composter for apartment composting. They have a lid is designed to be a snug fit but easy to open and close. You can choose from a range of sizes to suit your space and reap the benefits of compost by utilising the fermented liquid you’ll create for plant food or even drain cleaner!
If you simply can’t find a space to compost, you can join communities such as sharewaste.com. This site connects you with others who are composting and accepting scraps from others. You can then contribute to their compost and eliminate the amount of waste going to the landfill!
Begin your compost by combining brown compost materials such as twigs, dead leaves, and branches in your soil. Break down large pieces to promote quick decomposing. You can then layer green composting materials such as vegetable waste, lawn clippings, and other wet, organic materials.
Keep building your base compost until you have about 25 cm of depth. Keep your mixture damp by watering it periodically. Mix your compost up every week or two to encourage air pockets and speed up decomposing.
For particularly smelly items, bury them about 10 cms below the surface.
What to Compost
Now that your compost bin is ready for action, it’s time to learn about what you can (and can’t) put in your bin! We’re sure it comes as no surprise to hear that most scraps and food waste from your kitchen are a big giant YES for composting. In fact, you can add in all sorts of green waste such as:
- Fruit and vegetable peels and waste
- Citrus and melon rinds (we suggest small amounts of citrus at a time)
- Coffee grounds
- Tea leaves and paper tea bags
- Houseplant trimmings
- Weeds, grass clippings, and leaves
- Dead plants and flowers
- Cooked rice and pasta
- Stale bread
- Corn husks and cobs
- Holiday greenery from wreaths and swags
- Old dried herbs and spices
- Eggshells (Break them up)
But the composting magic doesn’t stop there! Eliminate common household items from hitting the rubbish bin by compositing things like:
- Paper product such as newspaper, non-glossy junk mail, and office/school paper (shredded)
- Torn up cardboard boxes (non-glossy coatings)
- Bedding from hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits
- Nutshells (avoid walnut shells as they can inhibit plant growth)
- Used napkins
- Toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping paper tubes
- Used paper coffee filters
- Pressed paper egg cartons
- Brown paper shopping bags or lunch bags (shredded)
- Compostable labelled packaging
Cellulose dishcloths and other compostable products
- Cotton balls
- Popsicle sticks and toothpicks
- And so much more!
The Benefits of Composting
Composting can sound daunting, but once you’re in the habit, you’ll begin to wonder what you ever did before compost!
Here are some lofty benefits to keep you focused and reduce your food waste:
Grow a Healthier Garden
The impact of a healthier garden is never-ending. Firstly, if you grow your own produce (or would like to start) your soil will be delivering vital nutrients to encourage healthy growth.
Beyond this, having a backyard filled with healthy, oxygen purifying plants can leave you feeling refreshed, revived, and revitalized after a long day in the polluted air.
Not only will your plants grow stronger, but the nourished soil will actually deter those nasty pests that eat away at your plant leaves, making your backyard a beautiful environment to rest.
The more you compost, the less rubbish hits your bin. This can be great for large households that just can’t quite make it week to week on one rubbish bin. Beyond the space saver, less rubbish in your bin means less waste going to landfill (Yay!).
This also contributes to less greenhouse gas emissions from methane in landfills.
Great for the Environment
Think reduced greenhouse gasses are the only enviro-friendly aspect of composting? Think again! With so much less waste going to landfill, the amount of energy and fuel needed to transport, break down, and process rubbish is greatly reduced.
In fact, if we all do our part, we can have a massive positive impact on the overall air quality due to fewer pollutants and healthier oxygen-producing superheroes!
Composting is a very low-cost way to contribute to a healthier planet. Once you’ve got your compost bin ready to go, all you have to do is feed it with scraps. In fact, you might cut down on your rubbish enough to save some dollars in waste bills!
Compost Awareness Week 2021
Now that you know the benefits of compost and how to get started with your new compost bin, it’s time to spread the word! Share this article with a friend, colleague, or family member and promote the simple but powerful process of composting in your community!
From less waste to healthier soil, there’s no denying the incredible impact composting can have on our planet.
Ready to start your compost in Australia?Pick up your compost helpers today and start saving the planet, one veggie scrap at a time!