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  • Writer's picturecathy king

Composting with The Sustainable Organizer

Counter top composting container with charcoal filter and easy to remove plastic bucket for emptying.
Composting at home with The Sustainable Organizer

Gardening and plants are an integral part of who I am. My own pursuit of composting has taken on many forms over the past couple of years which is similar to the journey that many of my clients take to declutter and get organized. Composting can be a bit of a daunting task, and many people simply might not know where and how to get started.

Composting is the process of collecting and processing organic material (leaves, twigs, grass clippings, food scraps, and items such as shredded newspaper and untreated wood chips). There is a balancing of the products in this mix, as well as a process for watering, mixing, heating, and aging, to get a compost that can be used for your gardens and plants. This post is not meant to detail the exact process for making compost, but rather to help you make a decision on what action you can take to drive improvements in your own composting habits.

It is necessary for all of us to participate in composting in some way, even if it is a small action. Food waste that is put into the trash and landfill create greenhouse gas emissions that have a negative impact on our climate. This means more global warming, rising temperatures, rising sea levels and many more unfortunate consequences. Any small improvements we make will help the environment. Honestly, it took me quite some time before I became a supporter of composting at home. At first, this whole process might seem overwhelming, or too much to fit into an already very busy life, which is why I took several paths before I successfully landed my current process, outlined below.

Step 1: Contain it

Ceramic composting container purchased on Amazon has a charcoal filter, removable , dishwasher safe plastic bucket.
Ceramic composting container

  • Find a countertop container for easy access

  • Container must have a charcoal filter to avoid a smelly kitchen

  • Dishwasher safe or easily cleaned

  • Visually appealing

  • Easy to use.

  • The container must be open and closable very easily with one hand (no attracting fruit flies!)

  • Since I do not want to SEE the food waste through the container I have chosen a solid ceramic base.

Initially I started with collecting only left over vegetable parts from food prep, as well as food that expired in the fridge. I now compost any food that would otherwise get thrown away in the trash, including freezer items. I continue to educate myself and my family with what needs to go in the composting bin. For instance, stickers must be removed from banana peels before composting, egg shells are compostable, NO plastic of any kind goes to composting. I can honestly say that we do a pretty reasonable job with getting all food waste into the composting bin.

Step 2: Send it on its way

With the containment of the food captured and working for my household, I needed to figure out how I was going to get the composting process completed. There are lots of options to choose from, and it really depends on how much time and money you want to spend on the process.

Assembly picture of barrel composting system that I tried during the early pandemic.
Barrel Assembly for composting

I initially tried an outdoor barrel-type system, but ran into issues with location, freezing in the winter, and difficulty of use, so I continued my search for another solution. I ended up hiring Black Earth Composting, a curbside solution that picks up our compost materials every two weeks. It is very similar to recycling. I take my countertop container and empty it into an outdoor bin, and every two weeks it gets picked up. Although there is a fee involved in this process, I know that I am helping the earth, and they provide us with a big bag of compost every spring. So far, this solution has worked seamlessly for over a year.

Other Composting Options:

  • Build your own outdoor composting process-

Outdoor composting bins made 100% from product that was repurposed
Outdoor Composting Containment

  • Buy a tumbler/barrel or worm box system, like my own pictured above.

  • Investigate local drop off options - Some cities have food waste drop off sites and or local farms that take compost.

  • Investigate curbside services

  • Countertop options such as this unit from BestBuy. They are also sold on many online shops, are fairly expensive, and the reviews are mixed. I have not tried these units, as I did not want the noise, smell, and process sitting in my kitchen.

Vegetable harvested from the garden where compost has been used.  No pesticides used.
Vegetable from garden

The best advice that I can give you is to really think about how your home operates and how much time you have to dedicate to a composting process. Environmentally, it is a great thing to do. If you garden, it is even better, as you are creating something that will benefit your own plants.

You can start by making one small change, such as taking leftover coffee grounds and sprinkling them around your plants. The same can be done with dried egg shells that have been crushed. You can even make fertilizer out of your banana peels!

I hope you will consider composting if you aren’t already doing so. Please enjoy this short video I put together for you. As always, feel free to let me know if you have any questions or have ideas to contribute to the discussion. Happy composting!

(This information is not a paid or sponsored recommendation)


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