Month 5 – Backyard Composting

Having a backyard makes it easier to do backyard composting.  As a house-warming gift, we got a Gardenline Compost Bin.  This month, I set it up and started using it for grass clippings and food scraps.  The set-up was very easy, however I didn’t really know how to get it started.  Should I start with some dirt and then add food scraps?  Should I start with newspaper shreds like I did with my worm bin?  Should I water it every day?  How much stuff can I put in it?IMG_5965

I ended up starting with dried grass clippings, and I’ve been adding food scraps when possible.  So far I’ve added banana peels, orange peels, coffee grounds, and compostable coffee filters.  I watered it twice, and going forward I will try to water it more often.

There have not been any problems, although I’m most worried about ants since our yard has lots of ants.  I am not worried about raccoons since the lid can only be opened with a particular prying motion and a fair amount of force.

So why bother composting anyways?  Composting keeps yard waste and food scraps out of landfills.  According to the US EPA, up to 30% of trash is yard waste and food scraps.  Doesn’t that stuff decompose in the landfills anyways?  When these things rot in landfills there is no air, so the process produces methane.  Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.  Wait, can’t landfill methane be used as energy? Yes, some landfills capture gases for energy, however this is not required and many landfills allow the gases to be wasted.

When yard waste and food scraps are composted, they have air which means that methane is avoided.  Therefore, in addition to creating healthy, rich soil that can be used for gardening, composting also reduces the amount of space needed for landfills in your community and reduces methane emissions.

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