Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about composting – because it’s trending right now! We have a lot of local resources that can help you, as well as some at the State and even the Federal level.
If you’re wondering what you can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle, composting is a BIG JUMP into a sustainable life, without really too much work!
Composting is a Hot Local Topic
If you follow along on our Facebook page, you’ve probably seen a theme for this week – composting your “retired” pumpkins. On Monday I shared a link for the Pinellas Community Compost website run by our friend Amanda Streets, and then the following day, Tuesday, I posted a list of places that you can drop off your unwanted pumpkins for these places to use as animal feed, or to compost, or both.
All of these places who volunteered to take your unused pumpkins know the value of using what others don’t want. Composting allows us to literally create better soil. And this better soil is used in our gardens to amend our Florida Sandy soil into a rich humus that is nutrient-filled, that is environmentally stable, that holds water just long enough for plants to absorb it, and that really mimics the process that happens on the forest with fallen leaves and pine needles – decomposition that builds the soil so that the forest can live on.
Composting also decreases the volume of waste that goes to the landfill. What do you think happens to all those extra pumpkins at the pumpkin patches? Usually the landfill…which is an ENORMOUS carbon burden to our atmosphere. When those are covered over and start to decompose without oxygen (anaerobically) they release methane gas, which increases the greenhouse effect.
I mean, does Florida really need to be any hotter? We don’t think so.
Dispelling Compost Myths
Now, let’s talk about some myths surrounding compost, and possibly a few excuses why you haven’t started one.
- Compost is stinky and attracts pests. When composting is done properly, it can be done indoors or out WITHOUT attracting pests or rodents or smelling bad.
- I don’t have enough waste to bother. You’d be surprised just what you can actually compost – and you make more waste than you think you do. And, you can collect kitchen scraps, leaves, grass clippings, etc from neighbors and friends. You can also ask your local coffee houses for their spent coffee grounds.
- I don’t know how to build a bin for composting. You don’t have to know how to build one. There’s plenty of composters out there already pre-built.
- I don’t have a yard. You don’t need one. There are indoor composters that work just fine. You can keep a worm composting bin too! See Resources for Composting below and look for the Worms article there for more information!
Resources for Composting
I have found a few great resources for you to do some more research on the “how” and the “why” of composting, if you’re interested in pursuing it further (which I highly recommend that you do).
Take a look at these. And let me know if you have any questions!
From Marissa’s Blog:
The 3 Best Reasons to Compost – this was a prelude to the Composting class taught by Amanda Streets last year at our store – it talks about what composting is and why it’s important
Raise Your Own Worms – Vermicomposting – this is an early blog I wrote about worm composting telling you exactly how to do it!
Leaves Aren’t For Landfills – Utilizing leaves in your composting efforts is an awesome way to keep organic waste out of the landfill. This article also talks about “composting in place” using leaves as mulch.
From the EPA:
Composting At Home – a basic “keep it simple” guide to composting
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – resources for recycling programs overall
How to Create and Maintain an Indoor Worm Composting Bin – learn the ins and outs of worm composting!
Reducing Wasted Food At Home – this one is a great tool for helping you plan your consumption to reduce waste before you purchase – eliminating wasted food from your shopping list by food planning.
From the USDA:
Composting – Part of the USDA’s Backyard Conservation series to help you recycle food and plant waste – a helpful Tip Sheet.
Backyard Conservation – The entire Backyard Conservation resource from the USDA.
From the Cornell University Waste Management Institute:
Small Scale or Backyard Composting – this article contains links to studies and even lesson plans to promote composting for all different types of learning levels, families and students.
Wow! This article was jam-packed with useful information, wasn’t it? We hope you’ll consider composting your organic waste in the future. Need to set up a simple composting bin? We have wire rings we can start you off with that are inexpensive and effective. Have questions? We’re here to help.
Let’s all get on this trending socially-responsible composting thing, ok?
Until next time, Keep Growing!