Composting is one of the easiest ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. Whether you have a small yard, large yard and garden, or no yard at all; you can compost! Here are some simple tips to get you started on creating your own organic compost with your table scraps.
Composting is one of the best ways you can cut down on waste. On average, about 50% of what American’s throw into the trash can be composted! Most yard waste and much of our food waste is completely compostable. While it does take a little bit of set up, it pays for itself in so many ways! Not only do we feel good about doing a little bit to help reduce our waste, we are saving money too. I am excited to share some of the ways that we save money, but also a simple breakdown of what you need to start composting too!
Even if you do not want to compost, at least boost your garden and lawn with FREE coffee grounds from your local Starbucks. Starbucks stores across the country have bags out front that guests are welcome to take. This is my favorite freebie from Starbucks! We used Starbucks grounds with our starter worms and compost!
Saves Water Inside – Composting saves water usage in our house. We do not use our garbage disposal as often because so many items are simply going into the compost bucket. This makes the Earth happy, but also reduces our water cost.
Saves on Garbage Costs – We moved down to a smaller trash can which saves us a few dollars every month. While it might be minimal, we use less trash bags too. We’ve cut our kitchen trash bag consumption by about half! This only saves us a few dollars a year, but we are also proud of how we are able to cut back on plastic bag consumption. We’ve noticed this makes us more aware of other throw away items. I’ve almost completely stopped using produce bags at the store, I reuse our bread bags for school snacks, and we don’t complain at all about using reusable bags at the store.
Free Soil – We used to buy gardening soil a couple times a year. We now have completely free, and far superior soil available any time we need it. In addition to it being free, compost helps retain water and releases it to plants slower than regular soil. Now that we are using compost all over our garden, we have been able to reduce our outdoor watering.
Saves Water Usage Outside Too! – Compost soil retains water much better than regular dirt or soil. It is wonderful to grow our own garden and use less water over time.
Free organic pesticides! “Worm Tea” or “Worm Juice” as our kids call it, is a fantastic natural and organic pesticide. We would break down and buy an organic pesticide at least a couple times in the season before. Organic pesticides were so expensive, now it is FREE!
Better produce and larger crops. Not only is the soil for our little backyard garden free; we are yielding larger crops that are tastier than ever. Free soil, no pesticides, and less water and we are still getting better fruits and vegetables!
Free Surprises – some will say that you should leave seeds out of a composter, but the volunteer cantaloupe, tomatoes, and spaghetti squash in our garden have taught us otherwise. I suppose this is a personal choice, but our kids think it is fun!
Composting is great for the environment and it is so easy to do. Below I have shared some of our picks for getting started. A rotating composter makes everything so easy. The composter is so easy to turn to keep air flow and break down on track.
What can you compost? There are so many things you can compost daily. Below is a list of common household items that can be composted. Turn this trash into rich soil and save it from the landfill! We will also include a list of items you should never compost below
Compost these items : fruit scraps, veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee, coffee filters, tea bags, cooked pasta and rice in small amounts, crumbs from the counter, used napkins and paper towels, small amounts of stale bread, cardboard (egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, boxes, etc), cotton balls, hair, vacuum bag contents, dryer lint, 100% cotton or wool fabric, non ‘glossy’ paper products (business cards, envelopes, packing paper, sticky notes,newspapers, pencil shavings), wilted flowers, sawdust from house projects, lawn clippings, fallen leaves, latex gloves and balloons, crepe paper decorations, fur, and feathers, and so much more!
Don’t compost these items : Meat, dairy, dog or cat poop (ew, but we have been asked more than once), glossy or coated paper, walnuts, and pretty much anything synthetic or with oil in it.
Want another fun way to reuse scraps? We love to make our own veggie broth from veggie scraps in our slow cooker. After we’ve made our delicious and practically free broth, the scraps go into the composter!
Ready to get started? Below we have curated some of our favorite items.
We were lucky enough to find our rotating composter at a garage sale up the street from our home. This composter has a high customer rating and is under $100 shipped!
Don’t have the space for a large, rotating composter? Maybe you are looking for something a little less expensive that won’t take up quite as much room. This 4 tray worm factory farm is much smaller and appears to be well suited for apartments and smaller living spaces. We are a family of five and we get a lot of use out of both a rotating composter and a smaller worm farm, we might need more than most. If you are a smaller family or even single, start with something smaller! Bonus points for being teal!
Compost Starter is great if you do not have any soil. We started our compost with good old fashioned dirt from our garden, but this compost starter makes things really easy.
Worms are a must! Red Wigglers are the best. We bought one case like this more than a year ago and we have had to give worms away because they keep multiplying!
A compost bucket is really helpful in the kitchen. We started with just a bowl with a plate on top. I would much prefer to just make due with what I already have, but we found a compost bucket was really necessary. This is stainless steel and has ventilation and filters. It was a great investment and I will use it for years (if not decades!) to come.
There you have it! This is really all you need to get started composting your own trash. Reduce your carbon footprint and save some money at the same time. Happy Composting!