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How to be a Caring-Composter! – The Top Tips for Compost Beginners
Composting. We all know the importance of it, but it can be a daunting and confusing word. Getting your compost started can be an intimidating task, however luckily, there are some easy tips that can help make you and your family effective composters in no time!
Did you know that Australian households produce over five-hundred kilograms of waste per year? That's a crazy amount!
And what’s crazier, is that we could easily reduce that number significantly, if we all just do our part to reuse, reduce and recycle to the best of our ability. ‘But how do we do that?’, you may ask. Well, learning to compost is a great place to start.
What is Composting?
Composting is the process of turning natural materials into recycled matter. Organic materials such as fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and paper are all examples of common household waste products that could be turned into compost. Placing these organic waste items into a composting system allows them to decompose into a valuable fertilizer that has the power to nourish plants and enrich the soil in your very own backyard.
Composting Do’s and Don’ts
There are two types of composting materials; brown and green. To have the most successful compost, a good mix of these materials is crucial. Brown materials are carbon-rich, and tend to be dry, papery materials, hence the name. These may include newspaper, dry leaves, egg-shells, brown paper bags, sawdust and cardboard. Green materials are nutrient-rich, and include items such as garden clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, flowers and coffee-grounds. For a more, see Gardening Data’s comprehensive list of the best green and brown materials to compost.
Of course, there are some items that should not be composted, as they will ruin your chances of creating a successful and efficient fertilizer. These items include plastic products, animal products, dairy and eggs, onions and garlic, citrus products and pasta. Many of these waste products can breed bad bacteria and kill the worms that are doing all the good work in breaking down your scraps into compost!
So, before you throw away your waste items, remember to ask yourself; ‘can these be composted, reused or recycled?’
Choosing a Compost Bin
Composting is a practice that can be undertaken in any size home! If you live in a small apartment, tabletop compost bins may be the way to go. These mini-bins, which you can find at your local Officeworks, live on your kitchen countertop, and work exactly like regular compost bins, just on a smaller scale!
If you live in a house with a backyard, regular single-bin composting will be a walk in the park. An outside compost bin, which can be found at Bunnings, should be built in a shady part of your backyard, on well-drained soil. It is also important to consider its proximity to the house, as sometimes the odour may be a little off-putting. It is compost, remember!
Starting your Compost Bin
To start your compost, you will need a bin, of course! Bins range in price and size, however, no matter what you choose, the process to set it up remains the same. First, place down a layer of brown materials. Sticks, twigs, and straw are best for this layer, as they aid in drainage and help to aerate your compost. Then, add the rest of your compost in layers, alternating between wet and dry products. Wet products could include things such as food scraps and tea bags, and dry products may be things like leaves and sawdust.
Next is the fun part! Add some manure or any other nitrogen source. This will activate your compost and start the decomposition process, where the magic happens! Cover with a lid or a sheet, and you’re done!
Remember, there are a few important things to keep in mind to make sure your compost bin is effective:
Using your Compost
A properly maintained compost bin will be ready for use after three to eight months. Once your waste has decomposed entirely, it is time to put your hard work to good use! There are many ways you can use your compost, including;
Making Composting Fun!
We get it, not all of us have the time in our busy lives to set up a composting bin. But considering the environmental benefits, it’s a small task that will end up being a gift that just keeps on giving!
Getting the kiddies involved is a sure way to speed up the process, and is the perfect opportunity to get their hands a little dirty! Put on some gardening gloves and get to work! The kids will have a blast choosing where the bin goes and having them involved from the get-go allows them to take some ownership over the compost bin, meaning that they will actually want to be a part of the process! The differences between green and brown products are a great lesson for children to be taught from an early age and is another way to make the process that much more enjoyable. And if there’s one thing we know about kids, is that they are not afraid to make a mess, which is inevitable with composting! Have fun with it!
So, you’ve set up your bin. That’s great! But why stop there?! There are many different ways you can implement being a caring-composter into your everyday life, beyond just placing your household waste in your compost bin. For example, our everyday buying habits are another way we are harming our planet, however, there are many easy adjustments we can make to have a positive impact!
Did you know that as a planet, we will generate over 100,000 tonnes of toothbrush waste if every individual were to use only one toothbrush each year? Considering not many of us only use one per year, that’s a whole lot of waste! What’s more, is that the majority of these toothbrushes are made of plastics that will not break down in a single lifetime. So, what’s the answer? Well, fortunately, there are toothbrushes out there that are zero-waste, biodegradable, recyclable, and perfect for both adults and children alike!
If you're looking for a sleek toothbrush for an adult that won’t hurt the Earth, look no further than the NFco Bio Toothbrush. This toothbrush is entirely biodegradable, even including the packaging that it comes in! With soft, BPA free, nylon bristles, and a handle made from non-GMO corn-starch, this brush is a guilt-free purchase that will keep your teeth sparkling clean without harming the planet.
If it’s the kids that need a toothbrush upgrade, Jack 'n' Jill Bio Toothbrushes are the ones for you! These little guys are the first children’s toothbrushes to be manufactured that are made of corn-starch and are completely biodegradable and recyclable. Available in a range of fun designs, the little ones can keep those pearly whites clean while learning to be environmentally friendly.
To dispose of these products, simply break off the toothbrush head and discard thoughtfully, then place the rest of the toothbrush into your compost bin. To look after our planet, and make you and your family more caring-composters, pick up your own NFco or Jack ‘n’ Jill Bio Toothbrushes at your local Woolworths today!