When you look at your home and start listing ways to live more environmentally friendly, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s to swap out all your lightbulbs for LEDs. Maybe you’re checking that all your appliances have the Energy Saver star. Maybe you plan to adjust the thermostat by just a few degrees each season so it runs more efficiently.
A lot of different, small tasks can go on this list, but have you thought about your trash? Beyond the recyclables, what can you do to reduce the amount of trash you toss in the bin every day? One option, composting.
You can compost more than you think
According to CompostNow, 60 percent of your waste could go into a compost bin. Not only that, but if everyone composted, it would be like taking 11,000 cars off the road each year. That’s a huge reduction in our collective carbon footprint.
Composting not only helps the air we breathe, but it can help reclaim land currently used by landfills. It’s a win-win.
At home, the primary items you can compost are food and yard trimmings. All those bits of fruits and veggies that you toss in the trash can go into the bin along with a lengthy list of other common household foods and items, including:
- Coffee grounds
- Paper products
- Pizza boxes
- Herbs and spices
- Wine corks
- And more
You can even compost the pits from your favorite stone fruit.
Think about how much you throw away each week that’s only this abbreviated list. Now think if this list were twice as long — how much waste would you repurpose if you were composting?
How composting works
Composting happens naturally, given the right conditions. It’s just the process of recycling organic matter, but it occurs faster than natural decomposition because you’ve created the optimal environment.
The three basic ingredients you need to begin composting are the browns, the greens, and water. The browns include dead leaves and bits of twigs. They provide carbon. The greens, grass clippings, or even coffee grounds, provide the nitrogen. The water mixes it all together to jump-start the process.
In a composting container (with a tight-fitting lid), you’ll want to maintain equal amounts of the browns and the greens by alternating layers of the two sets of materials. Then, adjust the add just enough water to not flood your materials, and you’re off and running.
What to use compost for
The speed at which you make compost really depends on how much effort you put in. It can happen in just a few months or take close to a year. You know your compost is ready though when everything in the bin has turned dark brown and emits a very earthy smell.
From there, you’ve got a nice batch of nutrient-rich fertilizer that can organically enrich your flower beds, vegetable garden, potted plants, or even the grass.
Take lowering your carbon footprint further
When trash sits in a landfill and decomposes, it lets off methane emissions, a harmful gas. Decreasing the amount of methane in the air, by composting, lowers your own carbon footprint.
Reducing the amount of harmful carbon dioxide from the air also helps lower your carbon footprint, and there’s a way to do this that’s even easier than composting. It’s all about where you buy your gas.
The Twice Daily Thrive program offsets your car’s emissions every time you fill up with Twice Daily fuel. Through investments in certified carbon reduction projects, Thrive offsets up to 30 percent of your car’s tailpipe emissions, helping to keep CO2 out of the air. Used in conjunction with your own compost bin, programs like this allow you to make a difference simply by doing a regular, everyday activity — filling up your car with fuel. It’s a great companion activity to composting since they both help the environment.