Our friends at Posty want to get us comfortable with the ‘c’ word – that’s right COMPOSTING! Here’s the kick off to their educational series for us on how and why we should all be composting.
Why? Because composting is one of the most significant things we can do as individuals to help the environment.
Over 30% of waste sent to landfill is compostable. That’s problematic for several reasons, most significantly when organic waste rots, it emits methane gas. For reference, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon and is responsible for over 20% of current global warming conditions. Key takeaway here – you need to start composting.
This may sound overwhelming, breathe – it’s not. Did you know that there are many different forms of composting that can be tailored to meet your specific environment? For some people, composting is as simple as collecting food scraps and dropping them off to a third party. Others like to get real dirty and run the whole process on site. Whatever your situation there’s a composting option for you.
How can you compost? Let us count the  ways.
It’s 2021, and you have options. Sure, it’s been a tough fourteen months – and most of us have probably been wearing the same pair of sweatpants for at least thirteen of those. But think about it, you had the choice to be crazy and wear jeans. The selection process doesn’t stop there, you can choose to order alcoholic drinks to go, where to work (i.e. kitchen table or your bed), and even if you want to go outside. Most importantly, you can choose to get dirty! Gasp -“it’s a pandemic and you expect me to do what?” We said it – get dirty… um, with your organic waste, of course! Composting can be adjusted to meet your specific needs, from city to farmland there’s a solution for you.
1. Hot Composting: This is for the outdoor lovers, or those of you lucky enough to have an outside space (backyard, patio, balcony, porch – they’ll all do the trick). This method relies on bacteria that eat away at your scraps, as the organic matter decomposes it generates heat. Keep in mind this is not a hit it and quit it type of deal. You’ll need to monitor the compost frequently, ensuring the proper balance of moisture and air. Like the name implies, things are gonna get hot, and by that we mean 130-140 degrees. So, add “thermometer” to that shopping list, you’re gonna need it. Using this method, you can have a finished compost in as little as four weeks.
2. Below Ground: Let’s get down- like underground down. This option also requires an outdoor space, specifically a garden. Sorry patio folks, this isn’t the one for you. This approach works by burying organic waste and letting it decompose naturally- check out the specifics:
· Trench Composting – Dig, bury, ditch, repeat. It’s that simple. Dig a hole at least 4-8 inches deep and cover your scraps with soil. Congrats you composted.
· Sheet Composting- Also known as the lasagna method if that motivates you. The composter adds continuous layers of brown and green materials until the pile reaches 3-18 inches (talk about a food coma). This process can take up to 6 months.
· Digesters Compost System- Imagine a half-buried garbage can with holes on the sides and bottom and you’re basically there. The holes allow for drainage to seep directly in the earth eliminating odor and maintenance.
3. Bokashi: This is an indoor form of composting, but you’ll need an outdoor space. Intrigued? Originally created in Japan, this method is technically considered fermentation rather than traditional composting. Using the Bokashi approach, store your scraps in an airtight container. With each addition to the container, you’ll drain the items and sprinkle it with Bokashi powder (think magic bacteria dust). Once the bucket is filled, seal it up and let it sit for 10-14 days. When the time is up, you’ll take that output and bury it in a backyard allowing for the final decomposition to occur.
4. Vermicomposting: Worms are here. Am I right? Ideal for urban environments, this method can be done inside or outside within a 60-80 degree temperature range. Using either a purchased or upcycled bin, you’ll feed your worms on a weekly basis. Just like everyone else in the world, it seems these guys are also on a diet. Worms can eat their body weight in food (same with us and pasta), so you’ll likely be feeding them 1-2 cups of scraps a week. The rest of your food will go into the freezer for storage. More than just weight watchers, worms are selective eaters. We like to think of them as picky vegans. Additionally, you’ll need to give your worms bedding, no, not Egyptian cotton. These guys need a steady supply of carbon. Shredded newspapers (please, like you actually have a subscription to the Times) or, much more likely, Amazon boxes will do the trick. This is an ongoing process and in three months you’ll be ready to start harvesting the black gold. Moral of the story – don’t write off a chick with worms.
5. Countertop Composting: Maybe you’re more of a gatherer than a hunter, and there’s nothing wrong with that. This method is pretty straightforward. Rather than going through the actual composting process, you store all your scraps and have someone else do the composting for you. Usually this entails dropping them off at a designated location. Farmers’ markets and community gardens are a great place to start. To help you on this journey, we’ve put together a list.
Ready, set, compost!
Want some help figuring out what’s best for you? Take Posty’s short quiz!
Ready to buy a re-purposed compost bucket? Shop what Posty has on offer.
Wait… What do I compost?
Here’s a handy guide from where our Founder Lauren gets a compost pick up from in Indianapolis, IN – support a similar organization near you and be sure to check what’s on their list!