Composting 101: It’s Easier Than You Think

In LA we have a compost bin for all green yard waste such as lawn clippings and fallen leaves. After a recent visit to Seattle we noticed that our friends had a separate food trash bin that the city required they use. Seattle isn’t the only community making moves to not only recycle but break down recycling and also introduce compost waste bins. San Francisco introduced a similar law this week.
This trend will continue to grow and now there are plenty of products around to help you better treat your compost. Today you can feed your garden compost from your own kitchen scraps and yard waste in a matter of days what normally would take months.
According to the Wall Street Journal, compost is earthy material produced from the natural decomposition of organic matter such as grass clippings, leaves, vegetable remains, and coffee grounds. It’s nutritious for plants and lawns and reduces the amount of trash sent to landfills. Yard trimmings and food residuals constitute about 24% of the U.S. municipal solid-waste stream, the Environmental Protection Agency says.

How To Compost
+ Collect kitchen scraps in a pail with a lid and carbon filter.
+ Get a composting bin or tumbler to keep critters out and speed up decomposition.
+ The finer you shred the material you compost, the faster it decomposes.
+ If raw material is too dry, add a spray of water.
+ Turn, turn, turn: If compost stinks, it might not be getting enough air.
+ Shoot for a carbon (‘brown’ stuff like fall leaves) to nitrogen (‘green’ stuff) ratio of 30:1.
Sources: Sierra Club Green Home, Organic Gardening magazine, the EPA.
If that process takes too long then consider an auto compost machine such as the NatureMill Pro XE ($399). It speeds up the compost time considerably and uses sawdust pellets to up the carbon ratio. It also heats to 140 degrees which will allow you to add organic matter such as meat, fish and dairy which normally would give off a horrible smell during the long compost time.

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Timothy Dahl

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.
Timothy Dahl

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