Author: Ben Kassoy
Ah, composting: the perfect way to cook that dynamite dinner or groom your yard – while keeping waste out of landfills, reducing greenhouse gasses, and turning organic matter into revitalized soil all at the same time. Talk about a win-win…win!
And yet, sometimes all that winning doesn’t come easy. While some cities offer curbside compost pickup, and while some green thumbs compost in home gardens, other folks could use a little more time, space, and convenience. No worries – we’ve got you. Read on for some quick tips for composting made simple.
1. Find your local community garden or composting service
Allll the way back in 1996, San Francisco became the first US city to establish a citywide composting program. Since then, many cities have followed, but most haven’t. Good news is, community gardens are making an impact from, ahem, the ground up. These public spaces are a hyperlocal way to fight climate change and sustainably feed communities – and they’ll be super grateful to take your compost. Chances are there’s a community garden or composting service closer than you think: google “community garden” or “composting service” along with your area code, or use this handy map to find a local garden.You can also find your industrial composting facilities with this easy composter locator. There are more and more of these facilities that will take your scraps and commercially compostable products to turn it into rich soil, on a bigger scale.
2. Use your freezer to compost
Below we’ll detail some good solutions for home composting, from tumblers to self-composters. But if you’re short on time, cash, or space, your freezer is your home’s built-in compost paradise. No odor, no purchase needed, no problem. All you need is something for storing your organic material, like a paper bag (which are generally compostable) or a compostable bin bag (which, by definition, are always compostable). This helps you manage the timeline around your compost drop-off. Then, see above to find a community garden or composting service for your frozen scraps. Oh! And your local farmers’ market may also have a compost drop-off location.
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3. Invest in a composting tumbler…
A household compost tumbler not only stores your compostable scraps, it also rolls or churns your organic materials to save space and initiate the decomposition process. Plus, you’ll earn back some valuable time; you’ll empty your tumbler less frequently than you would a freezer compost or smaller compost bin. There are all kinds of fantastic tumblers, depending on your needs and budget.
4. …or even a home composter
For the latest, greatest technology, look no further than the Lomi home composting machine, which literally does the dirty work for you by breaking down your organics into rich soil. It’s more expensive than other home compost options, but you can’t deny its convenience, efficiency, and stellar reviews. Plus, if you find it difficult to stick with your composting routine, the Lomi may be the fix – just ask SELF magazine.
5. Try bokashi composting
Japanese for “fermented organic matter,” bokashi composting, unlike other methods, a) allows for meats, fats, and oils, which can’t go in most compost bins, and b) only takes 10-14 days to convert organic materials into usable soil…all in a very small space. So how does it work? Unlike traditional composting, which requires oxygen to break down organic materials, the bokashi process relies on fermentation – in other words using a special bin (which you can DIY or buy) and inoculated bran sealed in an airtight environment, which becomes nutrient-rich pre-compost you can add directly to your garden beds or compost pile. Want to learn more? This guide and this video explain the basics.
6. Mind blown: think beyond food scraps
When it comes to composting, there’s the usual, obvious fare: fruits and veggies; coffee grounds and filters; eggshells; tea bags. And there’s sooo much more you can add to your pile, from cardboard and paper; to plants (houseplants, yard trimmings, grass clippings, leaves); to cotton cloth; to hair and fur— and, if you’re buying the right products, everything from kitchen bags, to paper towels, to wine glasses, and beyond.