If you’re into green living, and you like to garden, chances are you or someone you know participates in composting. Today, we will explore what you can and can’t compost, and discuss reasons for this.
Let us begin with things you can compost in your backyard bin or pile:
Tea (watch for staples on tags or nylon sachet bags…paper tea bags? no problem)
Old pasta and bread (in moderation)
Paper Towels (spare the bin any paper towels soiled with chemicals)
Dryer Lint (yes, dryer lint)
Dog and Cat hair
Cardboard tubes (paper towels, toilet paper, etc)
Cotton fibers (yes…even your old gym socks can be composted! Takes a while, though.)
Now what are some things best avoided when composting? Here are a few:
Oils and oily foods
Human or pet waste
Let us discuss some reasons for the aforementioned. The reason that the things that are on the “safe to compost” list are there, are, quite simply, because they are organic materials. Not organic in the USDA, certified sense of the word, but organic meaning they are natural items. Most organic materials can be composted, meaning, they will break down fairly quickly, and produce the end result known as “compost”. This rich, dark colored product will resemble soil, and is a wonderful plant food.
Now, you may be wondering why “organic” materials such as meat cannot be used. The reason for this is several fold. For one thing, meat stinks as it rots, and this smell of decomposition will attract animals to turn over your bin or rifle through your pile. For another thing, there are fats and oils in animal meats, and this is best avoided. These things do not break down the same way, and oils can actually preserve the nasty muck you are trying to encourage to decompose.
Why not potatoes? Well, in truth, you certainly can compost them. I have simply heard of too many times an attempt was made to compost them, only for people to discover new potatoes and vines growing right in there! Not a terrible problem, really, but the idea here is to let dead things break down, not regenerate in the bin. The same logic here also goes for pumpkins and pumpkin seeds!
Composting is a wonderful resource in our struggle to help the environment, and it should be looked to as a viable way of handling our waste. And the end result of your trouble and toils is great nutrition for your gardens. Whether we’re talking houseplants, flower beds, or a veggie patch in the backyard, compost provides a huge nutrient boost.
What a way to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste right back into the garden to provide for future crops of food. Remember, growing your own food helps the environment, too. It all comes full circle, doesn’t it? With just a little effort and a few small adjustments, your family can help sustain themselves, and Mother Earth.