Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Countertop composting - taking it full circle

Did you know that between 20 and 30% of landfills are comprised of food waste? I never imagined what an impact this has on the environment until I found out that food waste breaks down to form methane gas, a greenhouse gas that is contributing to the breakdown of the ozone layer. I mistakenly thought that anything biodegradeable could be thrown out - guilt free!

It's so easy to reduce your impact on landfills by composting your kitchen scraps and some household waste. Compost is a key ingredient in organic gardening, and it's easy to make at home. There are lots of websites and videos on how to build a compost bin, and so many sources for buying them, so I won't go into that. But now is a perfect time to start planning your compost strategy.

I have a short, wide glass jar with a lid that seals the contents (and, ahem, odors) inside that I leave on my kitchen countertop. I usually line the bottom with a layer of shredded newspaper to absorb any liquids. Then I simply throw in any kitchen waste my family produces, like apple cores, watermelon rinds, potato peels, eggshells, coffee grinds, etc. You can also include toilet paper rolls, shredded paper, or coffee filters. Even Seventh Generation compostable dryer sheets can be thrown in with your dryer lint (not all dryer sheets are compostable, so make sure you check!). Just don't include anything cooked, meat, or dairy products. When your container gets full, just dump it into your compost pile!

Lots more information on composting

When I use compost that I've made from the kitchen scraps of food that was previously growing in my garden, I really feel that I have taken things full circle. By taking a little time to compost, you contribute to the solution of a community problem while improving the health of your soil and the quality of your vegetables.

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