Learn About Composting Day
Learn About Composting Day is May 29th
Composting is recycling organic material such as leaves, food scraps, and other compostable things back into the soil. There are several benefits and ways to compost.
It is said that composting comes from various past civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans, Mesopotamia, China, Africa, and other early western civilizations. Basically composting dates as far back as crop growing does all over the world. The idea of composting began when Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner outlined the principles of biodynamic agriculture in 1924. Sir Albert Howard, between 1905-1934 created the Indore Method, in which materials are layered and then are turned (or mixed by earthworms) during decomposition.
How to Compost
You can make your own plot outside and layer the compost scraps you gather from your household with leaves and dirt and mix it thoroughly every 4-6 weeks - this type of composting goes through an aerobic process.
You can buy a Bokashi Composting Kit or you can make one yourself with a bucket, two lids, red wiggler worms, some newspaper, soil, and sunshine - both go through an anaerobic (lack of air) process.
What and Where You Can Compost
Here is a long detailed list of what you can compost, some of the things you may not have even known about. Make sure to check your city’s waste and recycle page as it constantly gets updated and/or changes.
- All food scraps; except walnuts (they’re toxic to plants)
- Paper napkins and paper towels
- Any cardboard/paper (paper plates, boxes/egg cartons, paper bags - without wax coating or plastic) shredded
- Wine corks, toothpicks, bamboo skewers, paper muffin tins, avocado pits
- Used tissue, latex condoms, cotton balls/swabs
- hair/nail clippings, bodily fluids
- Dryer lint (from natural fibers) and dust, cotton clothing, natural loofahs
- Shredded paper, pencil shavings, natural decorations
- Shredded burlap, natural rope/twine
- Plants, matches, plain sawdust
- Animal food/hair/feces; except dog and cat feces (it will throw off the pH)
There are several places you can compost, the best way to find out is to look at your city’s waste and recycling website - as there are different places and rules for each city.
- Public composting places
- Compost pick up companies
- indoor/outdoor composting at home or in community spaces
Benefits of Composting
There are lots of benefits to composting, but the five big ones have to do with time, money and the environment.
- Composting saves water and energy and other resources
- You aren’t using outside resources to help maintain the soil
- You aren’t contributing to the creation or transportation of food waste or plastic waste.
- Composting allows food waste to go through its natural decomposing cycles to then begin the cycle all over again of growing plants and food.
- You don’t have to buy as many trash bags or bags of soil and you aren’t wasting food.
Facts About Composting
- The average person creates 4.5 pounds of trash per day which is 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.
- According to the EPA, up to 75% of solid waste is recyclable; 60% of landfill waste is organic and compostable.
- The average American household generates roughly 650 pounds of compostable materials each year.
- If the 21.5 million annual tons of food waste were composted, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking over 2 million cars off the road.
- Composting can reduce yard waste by 50% to 75%.
- Composting can take as little as 10 minutes a week, on average.
- Composting cuts down on chemical pesticide and fertilizer use.
- Composting can reduce outdoor water expenses by up to 30%.
- Composting can bind heavy metals and contaminants to reduce their absorption through plants.
- Compost decreases landfill waste, thus reducing one of the most harmful greenhouse gases on the planet—methane gas.
How to Celebrate
Get your community involved. Educate your neighborhood, friends, and family about the benefits of composting. Start a home or community based compost pile.