Breaking Down Composting Myths

by Angelica Pasquali about a month ago in garden

It's not impossible, I promise!

Youtube video for visual leaners!

A love story: A sustainable person, a bucket of dirt, and food waste.

Composting can seem scary, dirty, and smelly. However, it's actually fun and easy! This is from a person who just recently started composting a few months ago. I'm not a pro, but the good news is you don't have to be. Composting can be done even if you're the type of person that can't keep houseplants alive.

(foreshadowing: this will be future you)

What is composting & why should I be composting? Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed in a process called composting. This process recycles various organic materials otherwise regarded as waste products. Composting plays a vital role in reducing the amount of food waste in general. In addition, it reduces the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere since food waste in landfills doesn't break down as it should!

But I live in an apartment without an outdoor space! If you don't have room to compost outside, simply collect all your food waste, pop it in the fridge/freezer and everyweek donate it to a composting program/local farm.

STEP ONE: Get a bucket (or any container that has a lid you can take on and off). Don't feel like you need to go out and buy a special, overpriced compost tumbler bin. Start simple. I use a bucket that doesn't even have a proper lid so I use a plank of wood and rocks. The darker the color of the container, the easier and faster your compost will break down!

Graphic from Google.

STEP TWO: Fill the bucket with carbon/brown materials. This includes, but is not limited to: dirt, hay, deaf leafs, chipped wood, cardboard, dried grass, shredded paper. Fill 1/3 of the way with dirt (yes it can be from your backyard). Just avoid putting in rocks and sticks as they aren't helpful to the process. Then fill another 1/3 of the bucket with more various carbon/brown materials.

STEP THREE: Fill the bucket with nitrogen/green materials. This includes, but is not limited to: food waste, coffee grounds, and weeds. Do not put in dairy, fish, or meat food waste! I also reccomend not putting in egg shells, onion, or garlic until you feel more comfortable.

STEP FOUR: Be Patient. Let nature do its thing! Leave in a sunny spot so it gets plenty of sunlight. It's just a balancing act. If your compost is too dry looking, put more food waste in. If your compost is getting smelly or is too wet, put more brown materials in. Turn your compost every week just to let some new air in! In between putting food waste in your container, simply store food waste in a jar in your fridge/freezer.

The "Is This Normal?!" Concerns: If your compost/foodwaste is moldy, don't worry that actually helps break down things! Just turn it around and perhaps put it in a sunnier spot/paint your container black. If your compost has random plant growths, that's completely normal too! Just turn it around to break up the growth (it's probably weeds).

My First Experience: I personally have loved composting! I was so worried about it attracting animals, smelling, overflowing, etc. But to my surprise, none of those have occured! By composting, I have saved so much food waste from going to landfills and as a result lowered my carbon footprint. It's strangely rewarding to see your waste just break down into nutrient rich soil! By the end you'll be so proud of your bucket of dirt!

Angelica Pasquali
Angelica Pasquali
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Angelica Pasquali

Hi there, I'm Angelica!

I'm a professional photographer and climate activist based in New Jersey. By combing art and activism, I create powerful visuals that influence and educate people on global issues. Eco IG: @jellysavestheworld

See all posts by Angelica Pasquali