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How to be a Caring Composter: Tips for Compost Beginners

How to be a Caring Composter: Top Tips for Compost Beginners

Composting, we all know the importance of it, but it can be a daunting and confusing word. Getting your compost started can be an intimidating task, but luckily, there are a few easy tips that make getting starting composting easy!

U.S. households produce over 268 million tons of waste each year!

And what’s crazier is that we could easily reduce that number significantly, if we all just do our part. You might ask “How can I make a difference on the environment at home?” Well, learning to compost is a great place to start.

What is Composting?

Composting is the process of turning natural materials into the recycled matter. Organic materials such as fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and paper are all examples of common household waste products that could be turned into compost. Placing these organic waste items into a composting system allows them to decompose into a valuable fertilizer that has the power to nourish plants and enrich the soil in your very own backyard.

What to Compost

There are two types of composting materials; brown and green. To have the most successful compost, a good mix of these materials is crucial. Brown materials are carbon-rich, and tend to be dry, papery materials, hence the name. These may include newspaper, dry leaves, egg shells, brown paper bags, sawdust and cardboard. Green materials are nutrient-rich and include items such as garden clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, flowers and coffee grounds. You can even compost some household items, like our very own NFco and Jack N’ Jill Toothbrushes! Simply break off the toothbrush head and discard thoughtfully, then place the rest of the toothbrush into your compost bin.

What Can't be Composted

Of course, there are some items that should not be composted, as they will ruin your chances of creating a successful and efficient fertilizer. These items include plastic products, animal products, dairy and eggs, onions and garlic, citrus products and pasta. Many of these waste products can breed bad bacteria and kill the worms that are doing all the good work in breaking down your scraps into compost! So, before you throw away your waste items, remember to ask yourself; ‘can these be composted, reused or recycled?’

How to Choose a Compost Bin

 

Composting is a practice that can be undertaken in any size home! If you live in a small apartment, tabletop compost bins may be the way to go. These mini-bins live on your kitchen countertop, and work exactly like regular compost bins, just on a smaller scale.

If you live in a house with a backyard, regular single-bin composting will be a walk in the park. An outside compost bin, should be built in a shady part of your backyard, on well-drained soil. It is also important to consider its proximity to the house, as sometimes the odor may be a little off-putting. It is compost, after all!

How to Start Your Compost Bin

To start your compost, you will need a bin, of course! Bins range in price and size, however, no matter what you choose, the process to set it up remains the same. First, place down a layer of brown materials. Sticks, twigs, and straw are best for this layer, as they aid in drainage and help to aerate your compost. Then, add the rest of your compost in layers, alternating between wet and dry products. Wet products could include things such as food scraps and tea bags, and dry products may be things like leaves and sawdust.

Next is the fun part! Add some manure or any other nitrogen source. This will activate your compost and start the decomposition process, where the magic happens! Cover with a lid or a sheet, and you’re done!

Remember, there are a few important things to keep in mind to make sure your compost bin is effective:

  1. Keep the bin damp! Allow rain to pour on the pile every now and then to keep things moist and nourished.
  2. Turn! Don’t forget to give the pile a good turn-around, with a rake or a shovel, to promote proper composting and allow for air to get in.

How to Use Your Compost

A properly maintained compost bin will be ready for use after three to eight months. Once your waste has decomposed entirely, it is time to put your hard work to good use! There are many ways you can use your compost, including;

  1. Use it as mulch: Spread your compost over your garden bed to promote plant growth and nourishment.
  2. Make liquid fertilizer: One part compost to three parts water will create a magic potion that, after three days, will make for amazing plant food.
  3. Turn it into a potting mix: Mixing your compost with other natural products, such as coarse sand, will create the perfect potting soil for flowers and plants.

 

How to Make Composting Fun:

We get it, not all of us have the time in our busy lives to set up a composting bin. But considering the environmental benefits, it’s a small task that will end up being a gift that just keeps on giving.

Getting the kiddies involved is a sure way to speed up the process, and is the perfect opportunity to get their hands a little dirty! The kids will have a blast choosing where the bin goes and having them involved from the get-go allows them to take some ownership over the compost bin, meaning that they will actually want to be a part of the process! The differences between green and brown products are a great lesson for children to be taught from an early age and is another way to make the process that much more enjoyable. And if there’s one thing we know about kids, is that they are not afraid to make a mess, which is inevitable with composting!

Feeling inspired?

So, you’ve set up your bin. That’s great! But why stop there?! There are many different ways you can implement being a caring composter into your everyday life, beyond just placing your household waste in your compost bin. For example, our everyday buying habits are another way we are harming our planet, however, there are many easy adjustments we can make to have a positive impact!

If everyone were to use only one toothbrush per year, as a planet, we would generate over 100,000 tons of toothbrush waste! Considering not many of us only use one per year, that’s a whole lot of waste! What’s more, is that the majority of these toothbrushes are made of plastics that will not break down in a single lifetime. Fortunately, there are toothbrushes out there that are zero-waste, biodegradable, recyclable, and perfect for both adults and children alike!

 

If you're looking for a sleek adult toothbrush that will not only not hurt the Earth, but help replenish it, look no further than the NFco Bio Toothbrush. This toothbrush is entirely biodegradable, even including the packaging that it comes in! With soft, BPA-free, nylon bristles, and a handle made from non-GMO corn starch, this brush is a guilt-free purchase that will keep your teeth sparkling clean without harming the planet.

If it’s the kids that need a toothbrush upgrade, Jack 'n' Jill Bio Toothbrushes are the ones for you! These little guys are the first children’s toothbrushes to be manufactured that are made of corn starch and are completely biodegradable and recyclable. Available in a range of fun designs, the little ones can keep those pearly whites clean while learning to be environmentally friendly.

 

 

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