It’s Not Trashy to Compost

Did you ever watch Fraggle Rock? Sunday nights at the Suite household made the close of the weekend bearable because of Jim Henson’s zany creations. How could we be upset at the prospect of an inevitable Monday, when met with the spunk of Red, the angst of Weebly and the wisdom of Madame Trash Heap?

Sunday nights now beckon a different sort of ‘Trash Heap” around my home as Monday morning is garbage and recycling collection. We may not think about our garbage as being as wise as the great Madame of the Fraggles, but it certainly pays to be wise about your trash. Especially when it comes to the joys of composting.

That’s right, I said “joys” and “composting.”

Before you get your recycled plastics all in a bunch, let me start with a confession that up until last summer the idea of composting came to me in visions — no nightmares — of stinky decaying banana peels and rotting egg shells in my back yard causing an unparalleled stench and providing sustenance for a colony of rats only rivaled by Nihm. Fortunately, I couldn’t have been more far off from the reality of composting.

But before we get into the How, let’s talk about the Why. Any basic google search will give you hoards of essays, blogs and links to the benefits of composting.  I thought Urban Garden Center’s list was a great place to start about composting:

  • Ideal for growing organic herbs, fruits and vegetables.
  • Saves money on fertilizer and other store-bought gardening products.
  • A good alternative to chemical fertilizers for parents, pet-owners and others concerned with safety and health.
  • Conserves dwindling landfill space.
  • Easy, convenient way to dispose of garden refuse (often prohibited from landfills).
  • Helps wards off pests and weeds without chemical pesticides or herbicides.
  • Improves plant growth and quality.
  • Reduces erosion and nutrient run-off.
  • Restores nutrients back into the soil.
  • Helps loosen soil and can be used as mulch.
  • Breaks down clay based soils.

I started composting to help with nutrients for my organic garden, but I quickly discovered that I use my composter more as an organic trash compactor than anything else. Composting greatly cuts down on your amount of kitchen waste, and when done properly, it actually doesn’t stink.

Come on, you’re already going to be disposing of those potato peelings somewhere (most likely not your disposal). Why not give them back to Mother Earth? Composting is just one more chain in the link of food’s “Life Cycle” that we can teach our children and our families about.

There are a myriad of options for getting started with composting. I take the lazy man’s route and use a tumbler. But you can use a page out of my grandparent’s notebook of green practices and just turn your peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds etc right into your soil. For some great tips and information on getting started visit “How to Compost,” “Composting Instructions,” or the EPA’s website to “Create Your Own Compost Pile.”

This month’s green challenge is all about composting!

Photo Credits: Lifting Faces and Climate Lab, respectively.

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