Dryer lint, vacuum cleaner bag contents, dog and cat hair, human hair, paper, cardboard, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg shells, kitchen food waste, leaves, grass clippings, sunflower stalks, yard and garden waste? They are things you can toss into a compost heap. And this is just the tip of the earthy-smelling iceberg! Yes, you can chop and mix these items together to make compost. Compost, a beautiful dark brown or black “gold” is beneficial to the garden. Why is it good for the garden? Because compost:
- improves the soil
- is food for plants
- helps the soil to breathe
- brings microorganisms and worms to the garden
- helps the soil to retain water, so you don’t need to use as much
- limits what we toss in our landfills.
Did you know that we Americans toss more than 34 million tons of food waste per year? 34 million TONS! I don’t know how much you spend on your food budget, but doesn’t it seem like we’re just pissing it away? And if we are spending a lot on our food budgets AND then tossing it out in the trash, how can we complain about the price of food? It doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe we all need a refresher lesson in home economics!
From numbers generated by the EPA for the year 2010, “more than 34 million tons of food waste was generated, more than any other material category but paper.” Food waste was 14 percent of the municipal solid waste stream that year. Along with food waste, yard waste amounted to 13.4 percent, and paper and paper board 28.5 percent. For this blog, I’m not even going to start on plastics! That’s a rant for another time!
If I can add correctly, this comes to 59.5 percent of what’s tossed in the trash per year! 59.5 PERCENT!
What can we do about this problem? For starters, maybe better food management? But we can begin by composting a good part of what we are tossing out and put our trash to better use. We can reduce our impact while improving the environment. And maybe we begin to realize we don’t need to buy as much stuff and save money at the same time! Sounds good to me!
I will dig deeper into composting and discuss different methods, piles, bins and processes in Chapter 2 of this blog—so stay tuned!
Hey, are you going to eat that apple?