Although many of us actively recycle, more often than not, our food waste goes straight to the garbage. Composting at home is not only a great way to reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill each day, but it also produces highly nutritious compost which will do wonders for your garden, potted plants and flowers.

There are many ways to collect and compost your kitchen scraps ranging from the most hands-off methods to the most hands-on.

Why compost?

In a landfill, food waste is deprived of oxygen and undergoes anaerobic digestion, producing methane as a byproduct. Methane is twenty three times more harmful than the carbon dioxide that would be produced if the food waste were to degrade aerobically in a compost pile.

Composting

Ready to get started? Here are 3 ways to compost at home:

Collect & Drop Off

If you prefer to let someone else do the dirty work, try collecting your kitchen scraps and dropping them off at a local collection site. Most farmers markets will happily take your kitchen waste, offering collection services on weekends. You can also look out for community gardens in your area as they often accept compost-ready materials, too.

Simply purchase a small counter top compost bin with a carbon filter to prevent odors from seeping out. If you have space, you can also keep a small pail in the freezer to keep it out of sight until you drop it off.

Worm Bin

Perfect for the urban apartment dweller, worm composting, or vermicomposting, is a compact and tidy way to turn those salad scraps and veggie peels in to garden gold! This method uses worms, as well as microbes to process organic waste into dark, nutrient-rich compost. Worms in a well established bin can digest their weight in food waste daily and will also consume your shredded cardboard and newspaper, greatly reducing your recycling load as well!

Place your bin on a porch, balcony, or even in the kitchen. You can find pre-assembled bins online, or simply use a plastic tub. Find out more about this method here.

Compost Pile

Better suited to homeowners with a yard, and plenty of yard waste, the compost pile is a more conventional way of composting. A compost heap requires a mixture of carbon-rich “brown” materials such as cardboard or dead leaves and nitrogen-rich “green” materials, that are high in moisture like kitchen waste and yard clippings. Learn more about starting your compost pile here.

What to Compost?

  • Raw or cooked fruits and vegetables
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Dry fiber like natural cardboard
  • Avoid meat, dairy, citrus and onions

Do you compost at home? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments section below!

Image via Flickr, Joi