composting 101, or everything you’ve ever wanted to know about composting but were afraid to ask!

Ryan and I are obsessed with composting, you guys.

Composting might seem like a strange thing to be obsessed with, but we can’t help ourselves. We just are. Composting is great for the environment and it’s actually fun, so allow me to wax poetic about how awesome it is for a little bit!

We’re big into recycling, and we save onion skins and carrot peels in a large container in our freezer for making huge batches of chicken stock. I’ve always felt bad about throwing away things like the ends of zucchini or eggshells (we don’t have a garbage disposal!), so when we got the opportunity to test out the Full Circle Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector, I was all about it!

And thus, an obsession was born. It’s not just me, either! Ryan decided to take our composting experiment to the next level and we started a compost pile in our backyard, with the intention to eventually start worm composting. Fun times!

But guess what? You totally don’t need to have a backyard in order to compost! All you need is a countertop compost collector, biodegradable bags and a sense of adventure.

Well, maybe you don’t need a sense of adventure, but having one certainly doesn’t hurt the situation. Let’s learn all about the wild world of composting together, shall we?

What is composting?

Composting is essentially collecting food scraps and organic waste in order to allow them to break down into nutrient-rich matter. Composted matter is added to soil and allows plants, flowers and herbs to retain more moisture and nutrients while growing.

Gardeners call compost “black gold,” since the matter fertilizes plants so well. It’s better for the environment and for your garden than petroleum-based fertilizers, that’s for sure!

Why should I compost?

Do you have a garden? Do you grow herbs or flowers in containers on your balcony or windowsill? Do you want to do something nice for the environment and contribute a bit less garbage to our already way overfilled landfills?

These are all great reasons to compost! Think about how much food we throw away. Think about all the kitchen scraps and carrot tops that we throw into plastic bags that don’t break down. Landfills are full of plastic bags piled on top of each other, full of rotting food. Delicious, right?

Instead of tossing rotten heads of cabbage in the garbage, you can throw them into your compost collector and allow them to break down naturally. It’s kind of like kitchen alchemy, taking something gross, like a moldy tomato and allowing it to turn into something you can use to feed your plants and make them healthier. Crazy!

I don’t have a backyard! How am I supposed to compost?

No worries, mate! Even if you live in the tiniest studio apartment in the middle of a big city, you can totally compost!

Most cities, especially larger cities will have community compost centers where you can bring your bags full of compost for them to deal with. No mess, no fuss. Super simple, right? You can visit Earth 911‘s website, as well as the EPA’s site to find a community compost center in your area!

Uh, isn’t my kitchen going to smell bad with a bunch of food scraps sitting in a bin on the countertop?

Nope!

I know, I was skeptical, too! A good countertop compost collector will allow oxygen to flow through the container, meaning the food isn’t sitting in a completely enclosed container. The compostable materials will stay dryer, which means no horrifying smells in your home.

Good composting bags are 100% biodegradable, which means they will break down organically, so you should replace them every 3-5 days. If you’re replacing bags frequently enough, your compost doesn’t have a chance to start getting really smelly and gross.  Everyone wins!

What can I compost?

Check it:

 Hey! I like your compost container. Where can I get one like it?

Thanks, dude! I like it a whole lot, too! It’s modern, sleek and very compact. It actually looks quite adorable on our counter!

My compost container is by Full Circle, and I’m actually giving one away this week in honor of Earth Day! Head on over to this post to find out how you can enter to win!

You can also check out Full Circle’s website and see where you can purchase one. They’re great!

Another wonderful benefit to composting is that we generate SO MUCH LESS garbage now. We used to probably have a bag or two each garbage day, which seems like a lot for a two person household. Now that we compost as well as recycle, we have maybe two bags of garbage going out per week. Which is basically awesome.

Hopefully that answers some of your burning questions about composting, and if you have any others, please feel free to leave them in the comments below! We are in the beginning stages of our composting journey and we’re learning something new every day, so if you have any tips or tricks for us let me know!

 

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3 Responses to “composting 101, or everything you’ve ever wanted to know about composting but were afraid to ask!”

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    Teena — April 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Love your compost container! I live in Toronto, Ontario and we all have to have separate containers for food scraps etc. We keep ours under the kitchen sink and its great. You’re right, no bad odour or smells, even in summer.

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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — April 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Oh mt goodness, what a fabulous post. EVERYTHING is here!! Amazing!

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    jessica lynn — April 20, 2012 at 1:40 am

    So I do have a question and I don’t think it was answered. It may be silly, but here it goes! So, you say you replace the bag every 3-5 days, but where do you put it? Where does it go from there? Out here there we have to recycle food waste separately, so we have a separate trash can for food, but even after a day or two it stinks like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve started looking into a compost collector bin like you have, so I’m thankful for this review….and now I’m heading over to the giveaway!

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