From waste paper to coffee grounds to leaves, every home has something that can be turned into compost. Here’s a short list of how not to waste these and other things around your home.
Tear and Shred Old Paper Products
Newspaper and loose leaf paper can provide a high-carbon material for the compost pile or bin. Tear or shred newspaper and notebook paper to help it break down. You can also shred many magazines, junk mail and office paper for composting; however, shiny paper (like magazines) does not decompose as quickly as plain paper. Your compost pile can only take so much shredded paper, too; so, find a local place to recycle large quantities of paper, books, magazines, phone books and corrugated cardboard. Large-scale recyclers are very good at capturing and reusing these products.
Properly Dispose of Kitchen Scraps
High carbon wastes like shredded paper need nitrogen to properly decompose, and every home has food scraps and kitchen wastes, which tend to be nitrogen-rich. Coffee grounds are quite high in nitrogen and make one of the best additions to the home compost pile. Fruit and vegetable peels and trimmings are also great additions; chop up thicker stalks and rinds before adding, to hasten decomposition. Fatty wastes – oils, meat scraps and other greasy things – are not recommended for the compost pile. Look for collection points around your area for fatty and oily food wastes; more places are reclaiming such waste for fuels. Small amounts of some foods which are not recommended for a compost pile can be added to a worm compost bin.
Discard Those Paper Napkins
Changes around your home can also reduce waste. You might try replacing paper napkins with cloth napkins; this reduces your paper usage in exchange for an addition to your laundry. You might also try composting spent paper napkins (shredding or tearing them is recommended), and even paper towels can be composted. Avoid composting chemicals, including towels used with chemical cleaners.
Collect and Utilize Yard Waste for Compost or Mulch
You can also become less wasteful outdoors. Collect yard wastes, like leaves, sticks/twigs, and excess grass clippings, and compost them or use them to mulch garden beds. Smaller yards are easily cleaned up by raking. The Cyclone Rake leaf vacuum makes it easy to use a riding lawnmower to gather up leaves, pine needles, grass clippings and other yard wastes.
Make Your Own Compost Bin
The compost bin is one of the best ways to reduce yard and kitchen wastes. A small, well-tended compost bin may produce finished compost in just a couple months or less. One of the simplest compost bins to construct is a wire mesh bin, which can be made with chicken wire or hardware cloth and some stakes or fence posts – materials often left over from other projects. You can also build a compost bin by recycling, or “upcycling” wooden pallets for this purpose.
Make Compost Tea With Excess Compost
Experienced composters might decide to use finished compost to make liquid compost tea, which can be helpful for plants young and old. Compost tea kits, with the supplies to properly make your own compost tea, can be purchased if you’re looking to stretch your compost pile even further.
From simple choices (like sending your fruit and veggie peels to the compost pile) or bigger commitments (like brewing your own compost tea), take the intitiative this year to become less wasteful around your home.