Composting 100: Why bother?

Why bother composting?  I can’t believe you asked that question!

To abuse Renault’s line, “I’m shocked.  Shocked! to find that composting is not going on here!”

I have to admit composting is not the easiest thing in the world to do.  Don’t get me wrong, everything rots in time but if you want quality compost, in a reasonable amount of time without creating a buffet for varments and without an odor, you have to work at it.  It’s not simply a matter of throwing banana peels and grass clippings in a pile by the garden and 2 weeks later…voila…compost.

Further, you have to gather the stuff in your kitchen and/or yard.  That can be unpleasant.  That what’s-it that went bad in the jar in the fridge?  You know, that stuff that has grown hair since you forgot about it at least a month ago?  That’s compost.  That sour milk?  Compost.  Paper plates from the birthday party?  Compost.  But instead of dropping all those things in the trash, tying the top of the bag and setting it out for the trash man, taking precautions to keep masked bandits out of it you are going to drop all those things in a bucket, put a lid on and dump it in your compost pile, taking precautions to keep masked bandits out of it.

What happens when you do this?  You remove 40-50% of the waste, possibly more if you normally set out yard waste.  You’re putting out half the trash you normally do (less if you recycle diligently).  Your trash doesn’t stink or attract animals.  The trash company either stops by less frequently or hauls less weight.  Either way, you are cutting fuel usage.  All that stuff you keep gives you nicer flowers, healthier grass and happier worms.  This is the heart of stewardship.  Not sorting compost is the same as putting a $5 bill in every bag of trash.  Compost has value.  If you send it to the landfill you have wasted a valuable resource…not to mention the money we, as a nation, literally flush down the toilet.

As a real world example, our family now produces two large trash bags each month.  We produce about one bag worth of recycling.  We produce at least three bags worth of compost and we burn a fair portion of our paper goods and use the ashes on the garden.

So, class, your assignment is to start paying attention to your waste.  What are you throwing away that would rot?  Begin paying attention.  Kleenex?  Coffee Grounds?  Banana peels?  Lawn clippings?  Keep your eyes open.  Next time we’ll get into the mechanics.

One thought on “Composting 100: Why bother?

  1. BIG Casablanca fans here…great clip.
    Looking forward to the mechanics.
    We put out one 20kg (45lb) can of garbage every two weeks. I don’t always manage to fill it. We have amazing recycling options locally, including soft plastic, hard non-food plastic, styrofoam, etc. plus all the regular stuff like tins, jars, paper, cardboard, etc. Beverage containers can just about all be returned for refund, which we do about every 4 months or so (when I can’t get another one into the bin). My chickens get just about all the veggie peelings, scraps, cores, etc. What they can’t have goes to compost. But I know I could put a lot more in compost if I could do a better job of varmint proofing it. So get that next post going!

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