Why compost at all?
Composting is a form of food recycling. It is a way of returning food products back to the environment. In nature, waste does not exist: everything is already being reused in some way. Food scraps are the number one material being sent to landfills and composting keeps food waste out of these landfills. Less waste in landfills also means less carbon emissions. When compost breaks down it creates a rich soil for growing. In essence, composting is not wasting, it is recycling, and it can be easy to practice. Here are some tips and additional reasons why you should compost:
• Composting is one step towards a greener lifestyle.
Keeping your food waste out of landfills means reducing your personal carbon footprint. Composting can reduce negative impacts on the environment, and if used correctly, can help improve soil quality.
• What to compost:
You can compost practically any natural product (but make sure that if you are taking it somewhere to abide by their compost preferences!). Food scraps, leftovers, fruit peels, coffee filters, tea bags, and even yard wastes, like leaves, can all be composted. Things to avoid would be meat products and pet droppings.
Depending on your living situation, you can either use a small bucket or container and keep it under the sink or store the compost in a brown paper bag in the freezer. Storing compost in the freezer will also reduce any unpleasant aromas that may come with the decomposition process.
• Is your school in a rural area?
If your school is located in a more rural area then there is probably a farm that could use your food scraps to make compost! Use your detective skills to scope out a farm close by and contact them to find out if they are collecting compost from the area.
• Is your school in an urban area?
You can still compost! Many green markets and farmer’s markets now have collection sites for compost making it easy to simply drop off your food scraps and let someone else do the rest.
• Do you live off campus?
If you have a home of your own you can make a compost pile in your own backyard. There are various resources and methods for this practice. From simple piles to bins, there is a composting method that can fit your needs. Check out Earth Easy if you are interested in creating your own compost pile http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html
• Other ways to compost on campus:
Does your school have a garden? If so, then they probably could use your food scraps. Find out whether the garden has a compost pile and what items they might be looking for. You could even try to encourage your school to start a composting program if they don’t have one already. It is easy to implement a composting system in dining halls and to find a space for a compost pile as long as everyone is educated and someone is willing to make the effort.
• Everyone can do it!
Once composting is practiced regularly it can become a reflex of everyday life.
Check out these great resources:
Compost This Book by Tom Christopher and Marty Asher