What Is Compostable At Home? Over 100 Ways To Reduce Waste!

What Is Compostable At Home? Over 100 Ways To Reduce Waste!


Have you ever tried to compost? Its honestly one of the best things you can do for the planet and if you are intoliving a zero-waste life, its one of the most important. But its hard to know what is compostable at home, hopefully, this article will help you on your journey.

Brown Matter from the Bathroom & Laundry Room

Put simply, compost is decomposed organic matter made up of biodegradable materials like leaves, dry grass, kitchen scraps, and yard waste. With the assistance of decomposers - worms, fungi, microorganisms, etc. - and the right conditions, the materials break down into decomposed vegetable matter known as humus but often referred to as black gold, and for good reason!

When produced in the right conditions, compost offers nutrient-rich organic fertilizer that your garden will LOVE. You can mix it into your soil or it can be used as mulch.

That black-gold makes your soil super fertile, it improves the quality of the soil and it adds beneficial microbes and nutrients making growing a little easier. Healthier soils mean that your plants will grow bigger and stronger and be able to fight off disease.

The value of composting is increasingly clear, it cuts down on garbage and it cuts back what we take out of the environment, its really an ideal form of recycling. Composting can be done at any time of the year and has adirect relationship to zero-waste living.

By composting at home you are reducing unnecessary waste that heads to landfills, reducing all the dangers that come with burning that waste. Rotting materials in landfills pollute water resources via leachate.

Rotting materials become anaerobic and create methane gas. Methane gas is a potent greenhouse gas and happens to be 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our atmosphere.

Organic and kitchen waste makes up about 30% of the waste disposed of by Canadian households.Studies indicatethat produce (fruits and vegetables), bread, and cereals are the most wasted food groups in Canadian homes and that most of this waste is avoidable.Canadian habits are changing, thats some good news.

The less rotting food we have in landfills the better. Composting whether it be at home, or at the municipal or commercial level is the best example of upcycling, the concept of turning an unwanted item into something even better! You gotta love that!

Compost helps toconserve waterand reduces the need for chemical and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

If you love to garden and plant, odds are youre spending money each year to purchase compost. Making it at home will also reduce the waste that its packaged in (plastic bags). Most compost you buy is made from cow poop or cotton burrs, homemade compost is much better quality, offering a wider variety of nutrients.

Plants that are grown in this type of soil are not as prone to pests and plant diseases, which means you will spend less money buying new plants to replace the ones that died.

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If you compost properly, you can reduce or eliminate the need for fertilizer and since it helps the soil to hold onto water, you can reduce the amount you need to water, hence saving you money on your water bill.

If you have sandy soil, you are probably having to water it a lot to keep your plants happy and healthy. Compost can absorb more water, kind of like a sponge, helping to slow the drainage and provide more water for your plants to use. Which means watering less.

Getting your soil to the right pH is hard, I am not going to lie, it can either be too alkaline or too acidic, both not ideal growing conditions because it prevents the roots from absorbing the nutrients they need. Good compost can help neutralize the soils pH.

Compost consists of a 2:1 ratio ofgreen matter(nitrogen-rich) which is normally made up of fresh, soft, wet materials like veggie scraps, andbrown matter(carbon-rich) which is typically dry, hard, or dead like leaves.

The ratio is important, but dont get too hung up on it. I never get it totally right. If it starts to smell, like you have too many greens, add some more brown. If you add too much brown and not enough green it will take longer for your compost to complete.

Ive broken the next section up by color-coding to make it easier for you to see what isGREEN MATTERand what isBROWN MATTER.

Broken eggshells (crush them first) & cardboard egg cartons (break them up)

Stale bread, cereal, oatmeal, nuts (not walnuts), Peanut shells, seeds, granola, dry rice and pasta, pita, tortillas, and pizza crust

Used brown paper napkins & brown paper bag

Cardboard paper towel rolls (try to eliminate paper towels altogether)

Used paper plates, shredded paper, paper towels, and napkins (all unbleached)

Shredded newspaper and unwaxed cardboard, cereal boxes

Toothpicks, wooden chopsticks, wooden skewers

Soiled pizza boxes & brown paper lunch bags

Old, dry legumes (they might sprout)

Note:you may have items in your home that say they are either biodegradable or compostable like straws, these items do eventually break down, but it can take them a really long time. I tend to avoid placing these types of items in my compost.

Fruit and veggies scarps like veggie skin, apple to pear cores, watermelon rinds, stems, soggy lettuce or spinach, banana peels, etc. (cut them up into smaller bits)

Skin from avocados, avoid skins from citrus fruits, they will mess with the PH levels and can kill the worms

Loose leaf tea, not tea bags, they typically contain plastic

Spoiled nut milks (soy, almond, coconut, etc.), no dairy

Moldy jam, olives, and pasta sauces are found in glass jars

Old cheese & melted (a little at a time)

Compostable Bathroom & Laundry Room Items

Brown Matter from the Bathroom & Laundry Room

Eco-Friendly Toilet paper& toilet paper rolls (in smaller pieces)

Human or pet Hair plus hair trimmings

Natural loofahs(cut them up into smaller pieces)

Natural latex or lambskin condoms (not synthetic)

Cotton swabs with a cardboard stick, not plastic

Cardboard boxes from things like toothpaste or other personal care items

Old cotton textiles, like dishcloths,jeanst-shirts, old cotton rags, orsocks, must be made from natural fibers likecottonwool, bamboo, hemp, or cork, and its best to cut them up into smaller pieces

Small twigs and sticks, I mean really small, not large branches

Cardboardseed pouches (always uncoated)

Burned wood ash from a campfire (not coal ash)

Old bedding from gerbil or hamster cages

Natural fertilizers, like alfalfa meal or kelp meal

Real Christmas trees, wreaths, and garland (you will need to cut the tree into small pieces)

Pumpkins used at Halloween and thanksgiving

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Shredded newspapers, junk mail, or magazines

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There are some things that we thinkcan be composted but actually cant. Putting the wrong thing in thecompost binwill contaminate it and all the work you put into it will be for nothing. I dont want that to happen to you.

Animal-based proteins likemeat, fish, and bones, can attract unwanted critters and also risk introducing pathogens

Citrus fruit peels, these are too acidic and will mess with the PH of the compost. They can also harm the worms. The same goes for onion and garlic

No cakes that have high sugar content. All types of bread, except if its plain and stale

No tea bags (they contain plastic) and no coffee pods either, even if they say biodegradable on the label

Pesky plastic stickers found on fruits and veggies

Brown bags or paper bags that are coated

Diapers and womens personal care items like tampons and pads

Dryer lint was very common to add but with the issue of microplastic breaking off in the wash, its best to avoid it

The same goes for your vacuum contents, studies have shown plastic in dust is a huge problem

Large twigs and branches (unless you can chip them)

Any treated wood or lumber (and their sawdust)

Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides

Plants that have any kind of disease, either dead or alive

Coal ash is a no-no, wood ash is okay

Any paper that is coated or has plastic on it

Dog poop or cat poop (both can contain parasites)

When you first start it takes a bit of time to get into the groove of it but stick with it. Most composting does begin in the kitchen, as you cook or clean out the fridge you will have lots of items that be added to a compost pile. You may have a small bin inside the kitchen that you collect daily or you may have a larger compost bin outside.

If you live in a city that collects organic waste, you may be using that solely. But if you garden andplant your own food, it might be worth trying a larger bin outside the home.

Keep a small compost bin inside the home and fill it up, then twice a week take it out to the main pile. If you are worried about the smell, make sure the bin you are using inside the home has a very tight lid and a carbon filter.

To compost at home you need: a container, layers (what you put into it), you need to keep it relatively moist (not wet) and you have to turn it occasionally. The 2:1 ratio I mentioned earlier is important, you dont want too much of one thing, all kitchen waste or all grass clipping you need balance to prevent smell. Properly layering your compost prevents gasses from building up this aids in stacking up the heat and cooking the smell out.

Before you start composting you need to think about the space and location of your bin. Whether you live on a large farm or in a small apartment, composting is possible.

Is exactly that a huge pile ofgreenandbrownmatter that you turn over every once in a while using a large rake. Youll need some elbow grease.

Compostpilesproduce large amounts of black gold for your garden. Typically these are contained in a large bin that you can eithermakeorbuy.

You can also opt for atumbler, these are larger bins that have a wheel. This is a perfect option for a smaller home with a decent backyard. Tumblers speed up the composting process, when you turn it, it heats up at a much quicker rate. The wheel also helps to mix the material a little easier than a large rake. You can find tumblers that hold quite a bit of matter. Perfect for a suburban setting, no massive pile to turn and you can get rid of the bin in your kitchen altogether if you wanted to.

This is the most typical type of composting and a good jumping-off point if you wanted to take it to the next level. You can keep a small bin or container on the kitchen counter or under the sink. I usethis ceramic one, it has a built-in charcoal filter to help with smells, stainless steel is another great option. These smaller bins are great for apartments or smaller kitchens.

Check out theBest Indoor, Urban Compost Bins & Kitchen Compost Systemsfor my top pick at home bins. And if you needa bag to put your compost in, you need to know which is the better option.

If you are doing a compost pile, make sure you choose the right spot. Your bin should be slightly lifted to avoid low-lying areas where water can pool. Remember you want the pile to be moist but not wet. Choose a spot that is protected from the wind, dry and sunny with good drainage.

Add your matter, shred or chop items into small pieces, these are easier to break down.

When you turn your pile, add some water, if you notice when you dig in its dry, add water and if you see its on the wet side, dont water it for a few days. Just keep checking it.

When you add new matter to your pile, turn it over, this will help speed up the decaying process. If your pile is warm when you touch it and there is steam coming off it, its working its magic.

When the bottom of the pile gets too dark brown, youve successfully made compost. YAY!

This is the best part! Take all that brown gold and mix it directly into your garden soil, raised beds, container gardens, and potting mix (use 100% composts in these) you name it! Add as much as you need, mix it with the soil and watch the magic happen! Good compost soil will be crumbly, not dense, and easily broken apart between your fingers.

You also add it as topsoil, like mulch. Or,brew a compost teaand use it as a liquid fertilizer

Well, there you have over 100 things that are compostable at home! Have you tried composting? Share your experience in the comments below.

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