As you know by now, I’m a big fan of compost which I believe is the single best soil amendment you can add to any lawn or garden. What you may not know is that I’m also an efficiency nut. I’m always looking for the most productive way to take on any task. So it’s only natural that I find one of the easiest ways to clean up the kitchen is to toss those food scraps from salads, vegetables and fruits right into the compost pile. So much from the kitchen and even other parts of the house are perfect ingredients for making great compost and make cleaning up so much for productive and fun.
Besides making great soil right at home, I certainly try to do my part to reduce the pressure on our community landfill. In fact, I’ve indoctrinated my family into this composting-recycling obsessive world in which I live. But I may have gone a little too far with it. Now I have them afraid to throw anything away. I must admit, my fervor has resulted in a plethora of recyclables at my house. The best part is anything that can be composted is composted.
As part of our system, we now have a dedicated cabinet in the kitchen that houses two bins. One is for the daily compost and the other for recyclables. I thought it would be a tough sell to get my wife to go along with the ongoing storage of food waste inside the house. As it turns out, the biggest challenge is my remembering to take it out at the end of each day. After all, that was our deal.
This learning curve and total acceptance by my family to the system has resulted in my having to fish out some pretty crazy items that just didn’t work in the compost bin. That’s alright though. I’d rather fish them out than have them thrown out. There’s no chance to compost then. So just what can and can’t go into the compost bin?
From inside the house, just about anything that once came from a living source can be composted. From the kitchen add all fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and filters, paper towels and the roll, napkins, oatmeal, banana peels, eggshells and tea bags. You’ll find more items.
From around the house, vacuum cleaner bags and contents, dryer lint, cardboard rolls, clean paper (shredded is best), newspaper, cotton and wool rags, hair and fur and house plants.
As with everything in life, there are exceptions to the rule, including household compost. First, don’t add meat products, bones, fats, grease, oils, or dairy products to compost. They create odors that can attract pests such as rodents and flies. And don’t compost pet or human wastes. These can contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens and viruses that are harmful to humans.
I must admit, now that the family is onboard, our household composting machine is running smoothly. It took a little work at first but now it’s a healthy habit that I doubt we’ll ever break…nor should we. Besides the good we’re doing for the environment and our garden, my children are learning important lessons on stewardship. And when they get to eat fresh vegetables from the garden, nourished by the compost they helped make, it really is an easy sell.