Hi, it’s me, Andrea, founder of Basic Revolution. Are you trying to be more sustainable in the new year? Me too! We’ll be sharing stories every month about ways to be more sustainable, as well as successes and failures at it.
I’m excited to start by sharing my experience with composting. I started composting in November and it's less smelly than I thought. :)
There are a lot of ways to compost and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. The first question to ask yourself is, do you want to be a home composters or use a composting service?
This was the route I took for a few reasons.
- I live in Chicago, and have limited indoor and outdoor space. I have a small backyard (which I love, as does my pup Dee), but I worried about a compost bin or pile attracting rats, possums, and other animals into my little oasis.
- The work to maintain my compost.
- The time it takes for the material to compost.
- Chicago in the winter will slow down my composting.
- I don’t need that much compost.
So a service was the best fit for me, where I live, and what I need.
How does it work?
It’s easy. The service I chose, Waste Not, gives me an airtight bucket with a liner, I fill it up with my food waste (including meat and bones, that’s important for later) and every two weeks I leave it on my porch for pick up and they leave a new bucket. Done and done!
It took some getting used to. My husband and I decided to keep a bowl on the counter for our compostables and empty that into the bucket once a day instead of constantly opening the bucket. The bowl also serves as a reminder to compost and not toss it in the trash.
- It’s a no-fuss way to compost and takes up little space.
- Great for city dwellers who lack outdoor space to compost.
- You can compost meat, bones and dairy. You cannot compost these if you’re a home composter (more on that below)
- I get compost in the Spring from my service. Put something in and get something out!
- Reduces my trash
- Monthly cost - my husband was not a fan of paying someone to take our garbage but now that we are doing it, no complaints.
- Rescheduling pick ups if you’re out of town.
- Too much waste for the bucket. This hasn’t happened yet but I bet our annual summer party will definitely surpass our capacity and we’ll need to pay for an extra bucket or throw it away.
If you have the space home composting is a great option. You’ll need to do a little research about different methods to pick the best for you and what you can compost.
Can be composted at home
- Vegetable food scraps (coffee grounds, lettuce, potato peels, banana peels, avocado skins, etc.)
- Grass clippings
- Tree leaves
- Black and white newspaper
- Printer paper
- Most disease free yard waste
- Wood shavings or sawdust
Can’t be composted at home
- Meat, fat (including butter and oil), dairy and bones - these can carry disease and are very attractive to animals.
- Diseased yard waste - composting these items will spread the disease when you use the compost.
There are a number of ways to home compost. There are pros and cons to all of these. You can learn more here.
- Closed Bin
- Open Bin
- Pit Composting
- Compost Tumbler
- Pile Composting
- Vermicomposting (Worm farm!)
- Lower cost - there’s a cost to start but after purchasing your container it’s virtually cost free.
- Compost for your yard, garden, and landscaping is at your fingertips.
- Great for people with lots of outdoor space
- Reduces trash
- Managing/harvesting the compost
- Can be smelly
- Attracts animals/bugs
Ready to get composting? Do some research and see what’s the best fit for you. Maybe your city offers composting services or you can request it from the city council. More and more municipalities are adding it as a service. Check for local private composting services. Research home composting. Make a plan and get started.
More composting articles for your reading enjoyment!