Composting is a process that turns organic material, such as food waste, leaf and yard waste into a rich soil. Diverting these materials from disposal facilities reduces the amount of waste going to landfills and incinerators.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) estimates that food waste accounts for more than 25 % of the waste stream in Massachusetts after recycling, or over 1 million tons per year.
At-Home Composting: Compost in your own backyard! Follow these steps to turn your kitchen waste into nutrient-rich compost for your garden.
1. Chose a Compost Bin Select a suitable bin or container. Options include compost tumblers, bins, or simple DIY setups. Ensure good airflow and drainage.
2. What to Compost ✓ Fruit and vegetable scraps ✓ Coffee grounds ✓ Eggshells ✓ Yard waste (leaves, grass clippings) ✗ Avoid meat, dairy, and oily foods
3. Balancing Act Aim for a balanced mix of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. This ensures proper decomposition and prevents unpleasant odors.
4. Layering Alternate layers of green and brown materials. Add small amounts of soil to introduce beneficial microbes that aid decomposition.
5. Turning the Pile Regularly turn or mix the compost to aerate it. This accelerates the composting process and prevents it from becoming too compact.
6. Moisture Matters Keep the compost moist, like a wrung-out sponge. Add water if it's too dry, and balance with dry materials if it's too wet.
7. Patience is Key Composting takes time. Be patient, and within a few weeks to months, you'll have nutrient-rich compost ready to enrich your soil.
8. Harvesting the Gold When the compost is dark and crumbly, it's ready. Harvest it and mix it into your garden soil or use it as mulch.