The time we are spending at home with family creates opportunities to take on new projects together. Along with typical things on the to-do list, like cleaning and home improvements, practicing sustainable living can be rewarding for your household as well.

Home composting is an easy concept that reduces the amount of garbage we send to landfills, all while generating excellent soil for gardening. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average person creates 1 to 1½ pounds of food waste each day, making composting a great alternative to reducing your carbon footprint.

Keep scrolling to check out the basics of composting and how you can begin composting at home.

Building an Outdoor Compost

All composting requires three basic ingredients: browns (yard waste), greens (food waste) and water. Collecting food waste from the kitchen is easy. Cut the top off an old milk jug or use any other container that can hold about a gallon of scraps. Foods that are ideal for composting include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grains, including pasta, bread and rice
  • Eggshells (and cardboard egg cartons)
  • Sandwich leftovers
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Napkins and soft paper
  • Note: Never put bones, meat, dairy, oil or fat into a home compost bin
Purple Coneflower
Composting at home can help create rich, fertile soil for your garden, which will help native plants like purple coneflower.

Finding a Balance

  • Add brown and green materials as they are collected
  • Add water to materials as they are added, keeping everything moist
  • Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material
  • Once the pile is full, leave it alone to “cook” for a few months to let bacteria break material down
  • Once the soil is ready, add it to your garden

Composting is one of the most effective ways to minimize the amount of garbage your family sends to the landfill. From building bins, to maintaining the compost, to understanding the use of organic waste, together you can make a difference – and have fun while doing it!

Kimberly Whitton, Public Engagement Coordinator