According to compostweek.com.au around 60% of the rubbish Australians put in their everyday garbage bin (destined for landfill) could actually be composted.
So why don’t more people compost? This isn’t a new idea… Are they unsure how to compost? Don’t they realise the benefits? Or maybe they don’t know the negatives? Or are they just too lazy? Or maybe they think they don’t have the space?
Here are just a few of the benefits of composting:
- Reduces landfill which also means reduced methane production. Did you know that when our waste is buried without air it doesn’t breakdown? It actually creates a large amount of methane which contributes to our total greenhouse gas emmissions!
- Is a fertiliser for your garden.
- Keeps soil cool in summer and warm in winter.
- Helps aerate compacted soils.
- … and much more…
There are so many ways to compost. Here are just 4:
Try setting up a 2 bay system if you have room in your backyard. You simply have to create 10cm layers of Nitrogen waste (fresh green grass clippings; green garden prunings; weeds; food scraps including tea and coffee grounds; manures) and Carbon waste (dried grass; dry leaves; straw; shredded newspaper, cardboard and other paper; cardboard egg cartons). You moisten each layer and when the bay is full cover it with a tarp, plastic or hessian so it doesn’t dry out. Turn the contents of the bay in to the other bay weekly which gets air into the pile and speeds up the process. Et voila! It’ll be ready to use in 6-8 weeks.
Maybe you already have a plastic compost bin but don’t use it? It’s easy to set up and get started and doesn’t take up much room. Just put it directly on the soil in your garden and add your daily food scraps to it. You might need to add a layer of dry leaves, grass, paper, hay etc occassionally for a better result. I just use leaves from around the garden or my shredded documents/letters/mail. When the bin is full lift the bin off, cover the pile with a tarp until you are ready to use it and put the bin in a new spot to start filling it again.
Maybe you don’t have much room, are worried about smells or live in an apartment? Why don’t you try a small worm farm? You can set up your own or buy a kit from the hardware or a garden store. The worms are very efficient at eating your daily scraps and produce worm juice which you can dilute to fertilise your plants. Just make sure you do some research before you start feeding your worms as they can be a bit fussy. I’m pretty sure your kids will love these new pets too.
Another solution for apartment dwellers is the Bokashi Bucket. I just bought one for my sister as she’s not the gardening type and has been throwing all her waste in to her general bin. She has just built a new house and the soil around it will definitely need improving so I’m hoping she’ll use this easy solution. They aren’t cheap (around $AU80) but very convenient – it’s a small bucket you can put under the sink and put all your food scraps in, including cheese and cooked/raw meat! You simply add a layer of micro-organisms to it and close the airtight lid so the fermentation begins – with no smells. Then, when it’s full you simply bury the contents somewhere in your garden… how easy is that?
Have you found any other composting methods you can recommend?
So, even if you don’t enjoy gardening, composting is still useful to help our environment. If you have no use for it you could donate it to a local community garden, give it to friends who enjoy gardening or even try to sell it.
My city council has free composting workshops available.. does yours? Is it something you could suggest or even start up yourselves?