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Composting in the USA

by The Green A-Team

Ready to get your hands dirty, America!?

It’s not even a question anymore about filling landfills with stuff that shouldn’t be there. Landfills are the real end result of our society’s waste and the best thing we can do is to help make less of them. That means USING stuff you think is garbage.

Organic matter, stuff like egg shells, old bread, fallen leaves, vegetable peels, fruit rinds, and garden trimmings, is the easiest waste to keep out of your garbage. All you need is a little plastic quart container with some holes perforated in the lid to drop the kitchen scraps into (we keep ours next to the sink).

Almost every American community has a composting facility or program. You can find out where to dump mulch and other acceptable bio-materials or a local composting organization will offer individual household composting units to its residents for cheap (around $10 and even FREE).

The scraps then go through aerobic digestion which involves the breaking down of material by way of oxygen, as well as by way of fungi, bacteria, and, yes, WORMS!!! Red wigglers, as they’re called, do the best work - those hungry little critters will go to town on just about anything!

Meat products, dairy, pet waste, and oily things don’t often compost very well at home. As Abby Block, Certified Master Composter and composting instructor, told me that garlic and pistachio shellsweren’t exactly the best worm food. With multiple bins throughout her Brooklyn apartment,Ms. Block’s household had no trace of odors of any kind.

BEWARE! Composting might lead to gardening! The humus soil harvested from industrial or home composting is some of the best stuff you can give to your plants. Once you get into the cycle, the rewards of lush house plants and even home grown food will soon be plentiful.

Composting Resources:

Compost Guide - A complete guide to composting.

US Composting Council - Programs and events all over the country.

Environmental Protection Agency - From the top down, composting is a serious matter.

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