Why Should I Compost?

Composting - What can I compost? What can't I compost? Why should I compost?

My grandma used to add her coffee grounds and flick her cigarette butts into her garden and I never understood why—just understood never to question grandma.

I’ve mentioned in past blogs about keeping things out of our landfills and recycling as much as we can. Composting helps with this cause, too, by greatly reducing the amount of garbage you throw out each week. 

I have found reports that roughly 20- to 25-percent of the garbage in the U.S. is made up of yard trimmings and food scraps. That’s a lot of garbage that can be re-used to our benefit!  

Additionally, the methane gas production in landfills needs to be monitored, as does the underground water contamination. Many landfills are reaching their maximum capacity and will need to be closed. 

What can we do?

Set aside a corner in your yard—it can be an informal “pile” or a container of some sort. The outside container needs to have some sort of lid to expedite the compost process. 

If you are using a pile in the yard, add a dry layer of leaves or grass clippings to the top after you have added some kitchen scraps. I keep a small plastic lined bucket on my counter for all my kitchen scraps and make sure I empty it into my outside pile on a regular basis. 

There are some very stylish compost bins for your countertop that have a lid.  Some even have filters built in to keep smells from leaking out. The compost process can take anywhere from three to 12 months, and you will have a dark rich soil at the bottom of your pile. 

What can you compost from around your house:

  • Cardboard rolls, cereal boxes, brown paper bags
  • Clean paper
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
  • Crushed eggshells (not the eggs)
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grass clippings, yard trimmings
  • Hair and fur
  • Houseplants
  • Leaves
  • Nut shells
  • Tea and tea bags
  • Toothpicks, burnt matches

Adding compost to our soil helps add microorganisms, anthropods, worms and humus, which helps build good soil and restore our soil to its native state. 

The complex process of decay adds nutrients back into the soil and carbon dioxide back into the air. This organic matter helps the soil hold water and nutrients.

You can add compost to your vegetable gardens, flower gardens and even your lawns for a safe and organic fertilizer that will produce a higher yield of fruits, veggies and flowers.

The common myth is that compost attracts insects, mice and other pests to your yard. This is not true. If you have such a problem, you are composting incorrectly.

Keep these out of compost:

  • Meat, fish, egg, or poultry scraps
  • Dairy products
  • Fats, grease, lards, or oils
  • Coal or charcoal ash
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants
  • Pet wastes
  • Yard trimmings treated with pesticides
  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs

What if you are not a gardener or don’t have a use for compost? 

You can ask your gardening neighbors if they would like the compost or you can donate it to a community garden or park. I am sure they would be happy to make arrangements to come pick it up. (I know I would be!) 

Adding the compost around your street or yard trees would add a great amount of nourishment.

Seriously think about composting and the impact you can make in your community!


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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