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Some Dos and Dont’s of Composting

April 10, 2018

Everyday landfills are piling up with our trash and releasing methane gasses. Unfortunately, a lot of this trash is recyclable and compostable. According to the Environmental Protection Association, 20 to 30 percent of the trash is food scraps and yard waste that could be composted. In short, composting can help save our planet.

We can help save the world by composting properly. A lot of the dos and don’ts of composting are not as straightforward as you would think. You can help reduce this waste by learning more about the details of composting. A few of the basics are listed in the graphic below.

What Stuff to Compost

The brown and green materials in the infographic are just the beginning. Listed below are some composting rules that you should be wary of.

  • Nutshells. Whether it’s pistachios, peanuts, or pecans, nutshells are compostable, but they do compost at a very slow rate. It can take anywhere between six months and two years for them to break down. Remember, when you compost to avoid using walnuts or walnut shells—they contain a chemical that can hurt the growth of future plants if you use the compost in your garden.
  • Weeds. Green materials are a much-needed component to your compost bin because they provide your compost with nitrogen. Naturally, grass clipping and fruit and veggie scraps are valuable compost ingredients but try to avoid weeds with seeds (like dandelions). In some conditions, they can start to sprout in your compost.
  • Cooked food waste. As mentioned before, raw fruit and veggie scraps are suitable for composting, but be cautious of cooked food waste. Most of us tend to cook with oils and fats (such as butter and meat), which should not be added to compost piles. These foods can lead to bad smells and maggot infestation. However, if you have simply steamed your vegetables it’s possible for you to compost them.
  • Paper products: cardboard boxes, paper plates, and paper towels. While it’s true that recyclable paper products are compostable you should be wary of any food waste. If these products have any fat or oil on them such as butter, cheese, or meat, they should not be put in your compost bin.

Bonus. For more information on composting, check out these Mindful articles.

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