We all know that littering is bad for the environment. Did you also know “throwing away” our garbage pollutes the earth?
When the garbage truck comes every week, they take the trash to a landfill, where everything is left to breakdown. Putting organic food waste into a landfill does not breakdown properly, and can create a toxic sludge that pollutes water and air. This food waste also increases the volume of materials in the landfill, meaning it fills up much faster. One way that you and your family can reduce waste is by composting!
Organic food waste might include things such as:
- apple peels and cores,
- orange peels,
- veggie ends
- fruits and veggies going bad,
- egg shells,
- coffee grinds
- grass clippings,
- dead leaves.
Composting involves taking these items that you will no longer eat or from your backyard, and allow them to decompose properly. Usually this will take place in a contained space, like a composting bin. The cool thing is, once your compost contents are decomposed, you can use it to grow plants! It will provide them with many nutrients to grow!
Start a Kid’s Compost Bottle
If you want to see the process of decomposition up close, try this soda bottle composter!
1. Rinse out a 2-litre soda bottle and remove the label.
2. Make a flip top lid by cutting almost all the way around the bottle about 1/3 of the way down, and poke a few air holes in above the cut.
3. Place a layer of soil at the bottom of the bottle and spray it with water to moisten it.
4. Add a layer of fruit scraps/vegetable scraps
5. Add another layer of dirt.
6. Add a layer of dried leaves
7. Repeat these layers until the bottle is full
8. Tape the flip top lid shut and place bottle in a sunny location.
9. Roll the bottle around every day to mix the compost and watch as your fruits and veggies decompose!
Start a Family Compost:
If your family is ready to start composting, here‘s how:
1. A garbage can or large plastic bin that is 3 feet tall is a good size to start with. You can also buy specific compost bins.
2. Start by drilling 20-30 holes in the lid and in the bottom of the bin so that water can be drained and air can flow through.
3. Next add alternating layers of compost materials:
– Brown Materials: egg cartons, dried leaves, shredded newspaper, cardboard, coffee filters etc.
– Green Materials: flowers, vegetables, fruit, egg shells, garden waste etc.
4. Mix your compost frequently to help the air to flow through it.
5. It will take about 3-5 months for your compost to be ready to empty into your garden, but you can watch as your food scraps decompose!
Sometimes we get uninvited guests to our backyards, which may include black bears. If your compost isn’t properly maintained, there is a chance that they could get into it. With the proper steps…these guests shouldn’t be a problem!
Here are 5 steps to composting in bear country:
1. Be Unattractive to Bears:
– Avoid having a smelly compost bin by not putting meat or dairy products in.
2. Keep a compost with equal brown and green materials
– Every time you add kitchen or garden scraps to your compost, add and equal amount of brown material (newspaper, cardboard, egg cartons).
3. Mix the compost frequently
– It is important to keep the air flowing through so the compost doesn’t smell.
– If you put fruit in your compost, bury it in soil to avoid it smelling.
5. Talk to your neighbours
– Make sure your neighbours know that you are composting.
– If they also compost, make sure that they know how to do it safely in bear country.
Three cheers for growing plants and marching ants!