Think composting is a good idea but seems too complicated? Too smelly? Too icky? Can’t do it in an apartment? Don’t have a backyard?
Don’t fear! We can show you how to harness the power of composting, turning your organic waste into super nutritious, delicious soil for your garden and along the way, minimise a significant amount of the waste your household produces.
One of the other benefits of composting (apart from making more room in your bin ahead of bin night) is that it is another way to be autonomously responsible for your own waste. Composting can prevent hundreds of kilos of organic waste that a normal sized household produces from going into landfill, instead returning it to earth in a sustainable way. Organic matter in landfill doesn’t break down in the way you might think it would because it isn’t aerated. Instead it gets stuck amongst the plastic and other garbage, creating methane gases which are a significant contributor of greenhouse gases (and over 20 times more damaging than CO2) (source: epa.gov)
So by removing your organic waste from ending up in the local garbage truck, you can not only improve the health of the soil around your home, but you are directly contributing to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Yay!
So, how do you do it? There are several simple ways.
- A home compost pile/bin/worm farm– many councils have partnered with organisations like www.compostrevolution.com.au to provide discounted compost bins or worm farms to encourage households to have a lower carbon footprint. Alternatively, compost bins are easy to find at your local hardware store or garden centre.
- Bokashi bin – increasingly popular and small enough to keep in your kitchen, Bokashi bins allow you to compost all manner of organic materials (including meat) by using fermentation rather than aerobic decomposition. The materials are broken down with the assistance of activation granules or a spray (full of awesome microbes), and the result is a bokashi tea which can be used as a great plant fertiliser. A fantastic alternative for apartment dwellers.
- Trench composting – probably the easiest of all composting. Dig a hole, and bury your organic waste. The challenge is to find new places to do this!
The key to making beautiful, non-stinky, nutritious-for-the-earth compost is keeping a good balance of carbon and nitrogen.
*Feed your compost with both organic matter (like fruits and vege scraps) which deliver nitrogen and carbon based items like paper, cardboard and dry leaves from the garden. We are aiming for an equal balance between nitrogen and carbon based. By the way, coffee grounds are excellent for compost! A good mix of both carbon and nitrogen. Just don’t put directly on to your soil.
*Aerate your compost every two to three days if you can by turning over with a garden fork or with a compost aerator, and ensure it stays moist (but not too wet). A simple spritz with the hose helps!
*Worms, worms, beautiful worms! Worms help to break down your compost even faster. Look for composting worms in your local hardware store or garden centre. Think of them as your composting minions, doing all the hard work.
Don’t forget you can put some packaging (like your Biode® packaging) into your compost but check to see that it says “compostable” not just “biodegradeable”.
Soon enough your compost will be ready for use. Add it to pot plants, new plant beds, or give it to your neighbours. There will be no shortage of uses for this amazing, sustainable resource.