You Are Throwing That Out?!: Composting 101

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What is composting?

Composting is a term rarely used in city life, however, is one of the best ways to reduce your waste and carbon footprint in today’s world. And you don’t have to be a farmer or have lots of land to compost either. Maybe you have heard the term composting, but never really thought it was something you could do. So what is composting exactly? Simply put, it’s turning your food waste into treasure!

While there are many different ways to compost, the main idea is putting your food scraps into some type of composting system which will then turn it back into soil. That’s right…all your banana peels, lemon peels, veggie shavings, coffee grounds, and eggshells that you would normally throw away can all be turned into nutrient dense soil. If you use this soil (also known as black gold) to grow crops, this resulting in faster and healthier plant growth.

 

Why should you start composting if you’re not growing your own food?

Well, all our waste is taken to landfills. Landfills are very hazardous to our health and environment, creating CO2 gas emissions that contaminate our air quality. The plastic lining used to hold in all items in the landfill is slowly deteriorating, causing the combined liquids it holds to create leachate, a highly toxic combination of chemicals, which will seep into the Earth. Once this process starts, it will soon reach our waterways and contaminate our drinking water. Waste is a very serious issue we are facing in the new millennium, where ‘disposable items’ are now the norm.  As humans, we must start living mindfully to reduce the contamination of our planet.Re-use, reduce, and recycle are the basic elements to eliminating waste that most of us have learned while growing up but need to implement into our lives as if the air we breathe and the water we drink depended on it…because it does.

 

What should you compost, and what should you not?

Basically, a good rule to go by is if it came from the earth, it can go back into the earth. But there are a few items that you can compost such as coffee grounds, coffee filters, any paper products (as long as it’s shredded), egg shells, tea bags and anything that came from a fruit or vegetable including the top of a pineapple or even the seed of an avocado. Yes, even your paper towel and toilet paper cardboard rolls can be composted as long as there is an even carbon to organic waste ratio. Items to stay away from would include anything man made such as plastic, styrofoam, aluminum etc. Not all composting systems are able to break down animals bones, so be sure to ask before dumping them into any compost system.

 

Ready to start composting but not sure how?

If you garden, composting should definitely be part of your daily routine. You can start a compost heap, or buy a composting bin (or make one if you are the crafty type). While there are many ways to compost, even in your apartment, it can be a stretch for some especially if you do not garden. Many local farms or gardening clubs will take your food scraps for their compost system or to even feed to their livestock. In the Miami area, Earth N’ Us Farms (7630 NE 1st Ave) welcomes you to feed food scraps to their goats and dump the remainder into their 3 bin compost system. I personally have a compost bin that I store in my fridge and take my compost to the farm once a week. Sometimes I don’t make it in time, so if my bin fills up I transfer it into a bag and store it in the freezer until I get the chance to drop it off. Where can you find a compost bin? Well you can use any type of bin, but I purchased mine on Amazon after a simple search for “compost caddy”.

 

Want a little more info on composting? Check out this DIY video from Fertile Earth Foundation, a local non-profit organization that focuses on composting education: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYi-1BmfhKw

Julia Poliadis

Jules is a certified health coach and plant based foodie based in Miami, FL. With her international background and passion for overall wellness, she has traveled, researched and experimented with all types of diets, remedies and approaches towards healthy lifestyles.