How We Compost

It occurred to me that after two and a half years of blogging here, I have never really talked about composting. This is amazing to me because, if I had to guess, I think that composting is responsible for diverting at least a third of our household waste. We compost our kitchen scraps, little bits of cardboard and paper too small for the recycling, wooden toothbrushes, tissues, the dust from the vacuum bin, and large quantities of pet hair. Composting is so crucial to waste reduction that I think I have just taken it for granted.

There are A LOT of different methods of composting, and I am not here to tell you which one is the best; I am no expert on the subject. Eight years ago or so I tried out a worm composting bin. The end result was a lot of dead worms and a bad-smelling bin. When we moved into our house, we set up one of those common black compost bins that you can buy at Home Depot.

Within a year or so, we had outgrown that bin and added a second. This allowed for one bin to cook down while we filled the second. This went well for household composting but couldn't accommodate for the large quantities of yard waste we were accumulating. Until this spring, garden weeds, grass clippings, and leaves were being deposited in piles around the yard and often into the garbage bin, as we just couldn't fit it all in the black bins.

This year we built a larger-capacity bin for yard waste using the pile method. It is a simple thing made of three pallets screwed together that basically just contains a big pile of materials.

This pile has built up just since March, so you can imagine how much waste we will divert with it over the year.

There are lots of methods of composting depending on the quantity of scraps you produce and what your living situation is. Hopefully the city will roll out a composting program soon so that it will be more accessible to all residents. Meanwhile, there are lots of resources on the Internet if you'd like to start composting. Green Calgary has a helpful guide and is also a resource for buying composting worms if you want to go that route. Regular compost bins can be purchased at hardware stores, or you can use a simple pile with no bin at all.

Do compost anything interesting in your bin? Leave a comment!


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