What is an easy way to start moving the needle and get your family reducing the amount of waste you produce? The Answer? Compost your food scraps. In this article I’ll talk about four easy ways to compost your food scraps.
I know in our house, at least half of the waste we create is from food scraps. Predominantly the half eaten apples my boys don’t finish, or the peelings or outer layers of vegetables that I prepare for our dinners. Not to mention the odd lettuce that I buy with every intention to make san choi bow, which inevitably ends up in a sticky mess weeks later in the bottom crisper of our fridge.
Growing up on property, with limited council supplied waste facilities, our family needed to be smart about how we disposed of our food scraps – otherwise our monthly trip to the tip would have been weekly (if not more often). So, Mum and Dad fashioned a simple compost pile that was thirty paces from the kitchen, and low enough for my sister and I to toss our kitchen scraps into with no fuss (bar the squabble as to whose turn it was to empty the kitchen compost container). Everything that would break down from organic matter went on the pile, carrot peel, left over wool from a knitting project, the lettuce that should have been thrown out a week ago, hair from our hairbrushes, clippings from the lawn when Mum mowed every week (Mum, you’re a legend x).
Mum would garden every so often and the heap would be turned and the soil that it produced would be used to add to the garden to grow veggies or fruit. Or alternatively, the pile would just sit there, doing its thing, just turning our waste into healthy soil and growing the odd rouge pumpkin vine.
As an adult, I’ve always tried to continue to compost wherever I lived. (Except through most of my 20’s, when I didn’t seem to produce much kitchen waste and either ate out constantly or went out clubbing instead of eating a meal).
I’ve used a number of composting methods as an adult, and I think the really important thing for anyone who is going to compost, is to use a method that is easiest for you. I look at composting as a way to simply get rid of our kitchen waste scraps and any other waste we produce that will naturally compost. I’m not a gardener, I’m not actively creating compost to better our soil and grow more, this activity for me, is literally our family’s way of reducing our waste in the most natural way possible.
Below are four ways to compost. I’ve done them all, so the info below is based on my experience. There is also TONNES of information on the internet as to how to ‘properly’ set up a composting system. But the hard and fast process remains the same, take your scraps, mix them with some “brown” and “green” materials, keep it moist, occasionally turn…
And that… is… it. Simple? Hell Yes.
Four Easy Ways to Compost Food Scraps
|1. Dig into your Garden||This is what I currently do at home. We keep a container under the sink with a lid, and we place everything that we can compost into that container. Most afternoons, I’ll then duck outside, dig a hole in what I had planned to be our herb garden (Spoiler: it’s a work in progress – for 2.5 years), place the scraps in said hole and fill it in again… And that’s it. If I’ve temporarily lost my mind and am doing a touch of garden, I pull out anything I don’t want growing and dig it back into the soil, and when I mow the lawn, I throw some clippings from the lawn on top as well. But to be honest, those last two actions are few and far between. I’m finding each week as I turn the soil where I’m placing our scraps we are getting more and more earthworms (a great indicator as to the health of the soil), and the rosemary bush I planted at one end of the bed has gone crazy (with absolutely no further attention from me than placing it in the soil).|
|2. Worm Farm or Vermiculture (for you technical term geeks)||I love this method. We invested in a worm farm when husband and I lived in our first home we bought together in Brisbane. The worms were like additional low maintenance pets. We bought the “worm farm” system from Bunnings (including the worms, they come in a box), set it up in a shady spot at the bottom of the yard, and I set to work on placing our scraps in there constantly. It was easy to use, and the system we had, gave you the added bonus of ‘tapping’ the fluid the worms created, which I guess you could call a type of ‘super fertilizer’. I was never really into that, because… I don’t garden. 😊. But if you are, it’s another added benefit of this system.|
|3. Compost Heap||As I outlined I the start of this post, this was our method of choice on my parents property. I think this is a really easy, no fuss approach if you’ve got a bit of a yard that you can dedicate a space to for it. Think less than a metre square to simply pile your scraps up on and continue to add grass clippings and dried matter like leaves and sticks. It’s not a bad idea to cover the heap with a bit of tarp or similar to discourage pests from rummaging through your waste at night. And again, you can choose to use the compost you create or just let it sit there and continue to turn into healthy soil.|
|4. Compost Tumbler||I dashed out and bought one of these when we moved to Tambella, as I thought I would somehow magically become a gardener. I really love this system too as it speeds up the process to break the matter down and turn it to compost faster. We added all our kitchen scraps and odd grass clippings and brown matter to it regularly and it was working a treat. However, the system we bought came from Bunnings, delivered as a flat pack. When assembled, the panels are connected with small plastic connectors which have deteriorated and broken over time, which has been disappointing. And frustrating as I’m creating more plastic waste from a system that should be helping me eliminate that. There are literally 100’s of types of these on the market, I’d go for one that is a more complete barrel (not flat pack). You can also make one yourself if you’re handy. With this method you will need to remove the compost you create and find a use for it. So if that is going to be a bit beyond what you can handle this probably isn’t the system for you.|
And that’s it, Four Easy Ways to Compost your Food Scraps.
For a touch more guidance, here is a really good
Do you compost at home? How do you do it? Tell me about it in the comments or drop me a line at email@example.com