so, i think you should compost

I know that composting isn't as sexy as, say, eating local figs and biodynamic brie under a big oak tree in a small slow-foodie rural town, or riding a bike, or not wearing pants for a day, but it IS one of the best things you can do for the environment.


It's pretty simple: when we send food waste to landfill - an anaerobic environment - it rots and releases methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than the carbon emissions that chug out of your car exhaust. When we compost food waste, we avoid this process. We also instead recycle vital nutrients which makes for really healthy soil. Life depends on really healthy soil.

Really healthy soil:

  • grows really healthy food and other plants, which make the world go 'round
  • sequesters more carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere
  • needs less water, so is thereby more climate-change resistant.

And this:

For every tonne of food waste not sent to landfill, almost one tonne of CO2 emissions is saved.

This week is International Composting Awareness Week. Oh glory be! If you're not a composter, it's the perfect time to become one. If you have no idea where to start, then the post I put together over at Sustainable Table's blog is the perfect one for you. Read it here.

Some quick top tips:

  1. You can and should compost even if you don't have a garden or a yard. There are many types of indoor/bench top composting units available nowadays, and no they don't smell and no it doesn't mean food will be 'rotting' on your bench top. Composting units break food waste down into a healthy odourless (even sweet smelling) material. Search the internet for 'indoor composting bins' and you'll get a heap of options.
  2. There are ways to get rid of your compost even if you don't have a garden to put it in. You can give it to your neighbours, friends or family with gardens, donate it to a local school, kindergarten or community garden or spread it around the neighbourhood, guerilla style.
  3. Composting quickly grows your sensitivity to how much food waste you produce, particularly if you only have a bench top unit. That's a good thing. The more sensitive your awareness of it is, the more you'll strive to produce less.
  4. Things you can place in your compost bin: Vegetable and fruit scraps, vegetable oil, prunings and lawn clippings, tea bags and coffee, grounds, vacuum dust, shredded paper and cardboard (including toilet paper rolls), used potting mix, egg shells, flowers, pet hair, your hair.
  5. Things you can't place in your compost bin: Diseased plants, metals, plastic and glass, animal manures, fat, glossy magazines or receipts (they are coated in BPA), large branches, weeds that have seeds or underground stems, sawdust from treated timber, pet droppings, synthetic chemicals.
  6. Can I add meat and bones? Meat (which shouldn't really be wasted anyway) can be added to most indoor or bench top units. Many say that you should not add meat or bones to a regular backyard compost bin or worm farm, but this National Geographic article begs to differ and explains how to do it. 

Here's two indoor/bench top composting units I found doing a quick internet search:

This sleeky-looking one at Urban Composter:

And this classic Bokashi bucket:

For more info on the different types of composting bins available for different situations, read my post on the Sustainable Table site

Happy composting people.

*Sorry, I found the pic in my files but can't remember where I got it from. Anyone know the photographer, please let me know.


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