As an insanely busy collegiate woman, you may not have time to take care of yourself, let alone the planet. However, composting is a very easy way to incorporate a bit of eco-friendly action into your everyday life. Composting is so much more than turning your food products into dirt and fertilizer. In fact, keeping a kitchen compost can reduce your food waste, which occupies a shocking 40 percent of landfill space. Additionally, composting reduces your carbon footprint by diminishing greenhouse gas that results from the process of managing food waste. With such amazing impacts for so little effort, why not start composting today? Read on for four tips on how you can get started today.
- Buy the ideal composting receptacle
In my kitchen, my roommates and I have opted to use a stainless steel compost bin fitted with a charcoal lid. Not only does the stainless steel provide durability to the bin itself, but it also has a very sleek and modern design that looks great on our countertop.
One of my initial concerns when I first started composting was the smell — after all, it is a place to let your food rot. However, I’ve found that with weekly cleanings, and through the use of the charcoal lid there is virtually no smell in our kitchen. Importantly, these bins are incredibly affordable, especially if you split the cost between roommates! You can purchase a great stainless steel, charcoal lid bin from Amazon.
- Identify which items you can compost
It’s truly amazing just how much you can compost; as a newbie to the tactic myself, I sometimes find myself forgetting which items I can throw in the bin. Many of the items fit for disposal are fairly obvious, such as eggshells, apple cores, avocado skins, and banana peels. However, there are some items you can compost that surprised my roommates and me! For example, you can compost items such as paper towels, 100 percent natural cotton balls, and natural wine corks.
Composting is a process that takes advantage of the natural tendency of certain plant-based items to decompose, so it’s a good rule of thumb to think of these items in terms of what the Environmental Protection Agency deems “Browns, Greens, and Water”. Browns are items such as leaves and twigs, while greens consist of food scraps predominantly from fruits and vegetables, water refers to the water content in these foods which makes decomposition seamless.
To help you remember what items you can throw in the bin, I recommend making a chart to place on your fridge in a visible place so as to avoid any confusion. For more information about what you can and can’t compost, see the EPA’s official website.
- Purchase compost bags
Compost bags are crucial to not only ensuring the easy disposal of your compost, but also maintaining the longevity of your bin and staving off unsavory smells. Compost bags are reasonably affordable and are sold at most major grocery stores. I buy mine at Target.
It’s also very important to remember to replace the bag every time you take the compost out. I have also found that it is helpful to double-bag the bins due to the fact that the biodegradable bags break down fairly quickly.
- Make a plan for disposal
It’s also important that you come up with a place where you can put your compost for either pickup or otherwise. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a city with a curbside composting program such as Boulder, CO, or San Francisco, CA, then managing the disposal of your waste is fairly easy and is often dealt with in the same manner as trash and recycling collection. However, if you don’t live in a city with a program, or if you live in a more rural area, you can often donate your compost to a local community garden.
Composting can be initially intimidating or confusing, but once you get in the swing of things, it’s actually a very rewarding and seamless task. The materials you need to get started are also incredibly affordable, particularly when split between roommates, so beginning the process is also very accessible. To start composting today, simply follow these tips and begin reducing your carbon footprint while also giving back to your community.