Recycling Food Scraps with Composting: Helpful Tips

Posted on: 29 October 2015

Americans throw away tons of food each year, and most of it can be reused for composting, which is an all natural and organic way to provide fertilizer for your garden. If you've considered starting your own compost pile but were not sure where to begin,  you should know that it's an easy process that will help contribute to the planet. Instead of tossing out food with the garbage, you can create a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants. Read on for some helpful composting tips to get you started.

What to Add

When you create your compost pile, there are certain things you should add in order to maximize its effectiveness for your plants. Feel free to include old coffee grounds, since worms really enjoy those. Worms can be a valuable resource for your garden since they provide extra nutrients and can help keep the soil moving. You can also add shredded newspaper and computer paper to the pile, but make sure it is thoroughly shredded. Otherwise, it could take too long to break down completely. Other items that can help your garden include fruits, vegetables, and straw. Pine and oak leaves are also good additives.

What to Avoid

Some items should not be added to the compost pile since they are either not biodegradable or can actually cause more harm than good. Do not include fats such as bacon drippings to your compost pile. While you might think your pets' droppings would help, they can actually cause more harm than good because they can attract pests and certain diseases. Never throw trash in your pile like plastic products or cigarette butts. These items cannot break down naturally and will only result in making the compost pile a trash heap instead. 

Other Tips

Be sure to keep your compost pile moist but not too wet. The finished product should have the look and feel of dark colored soil. It should appear completely broken down, and there should no longer be any solid items that you can easily recognize. The total time it takes for a pile to break down can depend on how moist it is, where you place it, and the exterior temperature. In the winter, it is best to have an indoor composting bin instead of an outdoor pile. The colder months are not as friendly towards the bacteria needed to break things down, so they need a warm environment to flourish. Remember to aerate your compost pile regularly by stirring it up with a shovel or rake. The average-sized pile should take about three weeks to be complete, and then you'll be ready to feed your garden.

For more tips on how to recycle your household items, contact a representative from a facility like City Waste Services Of New York, Inc.

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