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Trash Composting at Home

Home Composting  


-The average American generates large amounts of waste on a daily basis. Much of the trash will eventually end up in a landfill.

-Composting is an easy way to reduce the amount of waste, and provide a benefit. It is basically taking advantage of the cycle of growth and decay.

-By placing a compost bin in your backyard, it will benefit you and the environment.

-Composting is nature’s way of recycling, and it is the decomposition of organic waste material.  

Wide Range of Benefits

-In some cases, composting can redirect around 30% of household waste from the trash can and landfill. This may reduce your garbage bill and decrease the level of stress on landfills that are beginning to reach their capacity. On a larger scale, compostable matter makes up nearly one-third of landfills.

-Composting creates soil conditioners, which adds nutrients to your lawn and garden. This prevents you from purchasing these soil additives, and saves money.

-It will add microscopic biological organisms to your soil which will provide the benefit of increased aeration.

-Adding soil conditioner can help to maintain the moisture of the soil, and consequently reduce the amount of water needed for sprinkler systems.

Basic Compost Bins

For composting on the individual level, there are several options.

You can choose from an open pile, an enclosed bin, compost digester or a tumbler system.

Open-pile: This system is the easiest for composting leaves. During the Fall season, many people will clear leaves from the yard and place them in trash bags. However, these leaves could be efficiently used. An open-pile can be used if you have to many leaves to place in the compost bin. To make this system work, begin by placing the pile in a moderately shaded area of the backyard that will keep the surface moist. A layer of dirt should be added in between each foot of leaves. The rule is to have one-third green matter and two-thirds brown material in the pile in order to ensure that the pile has much more carbon than nitrogen. Your leaf pile should be completely composted within 4-6 months. This leaf compost can be used as an organic soil conditioner in your garden or landscaping. Adding pet manure is advantageous because it provides the nitrogen to activate and speed up the process.




Enclosed-bin: An enclosed bin is the cheapest way to compost at home because the contraption can be easily built. To build one, simply take an aluminum garbage can and drill holes in rows around the can at 15- 20 cm intervals. This allows the material to aerate. Then fill the can with specific waste, a mixture of high-carbon and high-nitrogen materials. By mixing the bin on a regular basis, compost will be quickly available.  A number of things can be composted, ranging from table scraps to nutrients. The chart shows what can be put in the compost pile, as well as what to mix it with, i.e. mix a carbon with a nitrogen.




Carbon or Nitrogen

Basic Information

Straw or hay


straw is easily composted, assists mixing the bin



avoid large amounts of colored ink



shred the material

Wood chips


Use sparingly due to increased levels of carbon

Dryer lint



Pine needles





the rate of compost increases if leaves are shredded

Table scraps


add with dry carbon materials

Coffee grounds


you can include filters



great activator

Fruit and vegetable leftovers


Peels will work better if they were treated with heavy doses of pesticides

Grass clippings


From lawnmower

Lawn/garden weeds


Add to carbon materials



Can be added to anything




Refrain from compacting meat and fish scraps, because they tend to attract unwanted pests. Adding garden to soil is another way of speeding up the process, and will assist in controlling some of the odor that may be present.

For table scraps, keep a separate trash bin inside your kitchen for items that can be composted. Biodegradeable bags can be purchased , and you can simply add them to your compost bin. This can eliminate the burden of walking outside each time you have an item to compost.