Reduce, reuse, recycle. We’re all familiar with the concept, but it’s easy to get bogged down by everyday life and take it for granted.
Earth Day—which is April 22—serves as a nice reminder to appreciate the planet and do our part to help the environment. However, it takes more than one day to reverse the negative effects of some of our habits, and we should be conscious of our actions all year. Recycling things like plastic, glass, and aluminum is a great start, but what about our food waste? Shouldn’t we be recycling that, too?
Don’t Blame It All on the Cows
When our organic waste ends up in landfills, the lack of air in the environment causes the decaying matter to produce methane gas—a greenhouse gas roughly 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas.
Composting helps divert waste from landfills, which can significantly reduce methane emissions, resulting in an all-around cooler planet Earth.
Composting Tips for Each Season
Despite your region’s climate, you can compost year-round. In fact, each season offers its own unique composting benefits.
Whether you have an established compost bin or you’re just getting started, spring is a great time for composting. If you have organic material from winter in your bin, the rising temperatures will help accelerate decomposition. If you’re just starting your composting journey and have plenty of “green” food waste, you’ll want to make sure you balance it out with some “brown” carbon materials. Adding dried leaves leftover from fall can help. If that’s not an option, you can also source some straw or wood chips to add to your bin.
The summer heat speeds up decomposition, which can help decrease turnaround time for your compost. If the weather is dry, you will need to keep an eye on moisture levels and add water when necessary.
Between grass clipping and food waste from your summer BBQs, you may find yourself adding a lot of nitrogen-rich “greens” to your pile. Be sure to layer in additional autumn leaves, paper, straw, or other carbon-rich materials you can access.
Come fall, nitrogen and carbon materials are both readily available. Your compost will love the combination of grass clippings and autumn leaves. Remember to preserve some of your leaves to add to your compost in spring and summer.
Don’t forget to compost those jack-o-lanterns! Adding your decaying pumpkins to your compost pile will reduce the amount of waste in landfills and help nourish your soil.
Cold winter weather doesn’t have to bring your composting to a screeching halt. Although decomposition may be slower, you can keep your compost pile active during this time so you have nutrient-rich fertilizer ready for spring planting. Continue to compost kitchen scraps, such as fruit peelings, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells. You should also add brown materials, such as dried leaves, straw, and other plant debris.
Insulation helps to ensure the compost remains active in colder months. Snow acts as an efficient insulator for your compost, but if you don’t live in a region that sees much snow, you can use cardboard or straw to cover your bin. If possible, keep your compost bin in a sunnier part of the yard.
Next time you’re making dinner or cleaning out your refrigerator, take an inventory of the food waste that ends up in your trash bin. The amount may seem insignificant at the time, but when you think about the millions of people doing the same thing as you, the impact is huge.
This Earth Day, consider setting up an at-home composting system, such as the GEOBIN® composter, to do your part to reduce greenhouse emissions and help return vital nutrients to the earth.