2 In Lifestyle/ Resources/ Zero Waste

Why You Should Start Composting Now

It kinda came to me as a shock but I realised that not many people know that whatever you send to landfill isn’t really composting or breaking down in a giant pit.

In fact, all that you send to landfill is just doing that: filling up the land and creating toxic gases that are then sent back to the atmosphere.

A landfill is commonly treated as an end option in waste treatment. All that can’t be recycled or composted, is directed to a landfill. There, it sits in layers of gravel, plastic and protective covers that allow the rubbish to pile up without polluting or compromising the soil and nearby water basins.

The problem with a landfill is that it emits methane back to the atmosphere. In some fewer cases, the methane is collected and used for producing electricity and power the plant or even the garbage trucks. However, in the majority of cases, the methane is not collected and it ends up being expelled back to the atmosphere, causing greenhouse gases, as methane is 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

But what does composting has to do with landfill? Everything! One of the major contributors to landfills is food waste, the one that you create while cooking or the leftovers that you forget in your fridge and let it go off.

By discarding food waste into landfill, you are contributing to the emission of greenhouse gases which are one of the main causes of climate change.

If you and your family could compost, Australians could divert almost 4 million tonnes of food waste. All this waste has a heavy price on our economy and environment. As a country, Australia sends almost 6.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in only 1 year!

Why You Should Start Composting Now

So why you should start composting now?

Well, I’ve got a few reasons…first off, if you decide to compost, you’ll be diverting a significant amount of waste from landfill. You will be able to have your own fertiliser made right at home (yay for happy plants). Plus you can save some money by using fewer council services or by selling your own fertiliser (worm pee/poo).

How can I start composting

First, you need to figure out what’s the best composting option for you. You can compost either if you have a backyard or a small apartment. It’s all about what’s best for you.

Why You Should Start Composting | Eat Yourself Green

Types of compost:

Composting Bins, Tumblers, open composting: these are great if you have large and open spaces or garden. They are great for grass clippings, fruit and veggie scraps, raw paper and newspaper, etc…they need mixed nitrogen-rich elements, such as bread, egg shells, grass clippings, human & pet hair, weeks and etc daily and some carbon-rich products like egg cartons, paper, hay, tree prunings, etc.

Things you can add:

  • Daily (nitrogen rich)

    • bread (please note: bread may attract mice)
    • egg shells
    • fresh grass clippings
    • human and animal hair
    • manure
    • old newspapers (wet)
    • sawdust (not from treated timber) and wood ash
    • tea leaves, tea bags and coffee grounds
    • used vegetable cooking oil
    • vacuum cleaner dust
    • weeds
    • vegetable and fruit peelings and scraps
  • Weekly (carbon rich)

    • bark
    • cane mulch
    • dry grass clippings
    • dry leaves
    • egg cartons
    • hay
    • paper
    • shredded paper and cardboard
    • straw
    • tree prunings

    Other useful ingredients

    • blood and bone
    • dolomite
    • dynamic lifter
    • lime
    • soil
    • wood ash

Things you should avoid:

  • bread or cake (may attract mice)
  • dairy products
  • diseased plant material
  • fat
  • large branches
  • magazines
  • metals, plastic, and glass
  • pet droppings

Bokashi: Bokashi is great for small spaces, like an apartment. Bokashi bins can fit nicely under your sink or in a balcony and as they are anaerobic they don’t smell while doing their thing and it produces a rich soil conditioner.

Things you can add:

  • bread
  • cheese
  • eggs
  • fruit and vegetables
  • raw / cooked meats and fish
  • tea leaves, tea bags and coffee grounds
  • tissues
  • wilted flowers

Things you should avoid:

  • mouldy items
  • excess liquid (drain tea bags before adding them for example)

Vermicomposting: Vermicomposting or worm farms are great for small apartments or backyards too as they produce rich castings in a very short time. Aside from it, you can also harvest the ‘worm pee’, a liquid fertiliser that is perfect to add to your garden or potted plants. Worm fasts are smell free and they can process up to 500gr per day.

Things you can add:

  • bread
  • egg cartons
  • egg shells
  • fruit and vegetable scraps
  • lime (eliminates smells)
  • small quantities of citrus or onion
  • tea leaves, tea bags and coffee grounds
  • torn up moist newspaper
  • vacuum cleaner dust

Things you should avoid:

  • dairy
  • fats
  • meat
  • oil

Common troubleshooting:

Vinegar flies or small white worms = too acidic
Solution = add dolomite, wood ash, crushed eggshells

Little or no worm wee = poor drainage
Solution = harvest or ‘fluff’ the castings

Worms don’t seem to be eating on my new farm
Solution = worms will eat their bedding or compost fhttps://energy-360.com.au/blogs/article/7/food-waste-in-australia.htmlirst

Going on holidays – do you need a worm sitter? 
Solution = 1/3 of a tray filled with food and shredded newspaper feeds worms for 4 weeks

You can find a really great resource on how to get started here.

Source: Sustainability Victoria

Once you find your right type of composting, then you can save your food scraps and dispose of them daily or every other day to feed your compost and harvest rich soil. If you don’t have a garden or plants, find your closest community garden (or friend) and donate your soil.

Why You Should Start Composting | Eat Yourself Green

So, will you start composting now? What’s holding you back?

Peace and love,

Larissa x

Follow Eat Yourself Green on Instagram & Facebook.

Sources: Energy 360
Sustainability Victoria

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  • Reply
    Kevin H
    06/07/2019 at 12:17 am

    I love it when I see people writing about composting. There are still so many people that doesn’t realise food waste DOESN’T compost in landfill because it physically can’t. My local council has a food waste collection, but I admit I don’t know what they do with the food waste. I assume they compost it. I also do my best to compost what I can of my food waste.
    Thanks for sharing this great info, I hope it inspires more people to compost considering it could save so much in emissions!

    • Reply
      Larissa Tedesco
      11/07/2019 at 3:22 pm

      Yes, there’s a lot of misconception in regards to composting, so it’s really important to talk about it and educate people. Glad you have the ability to compost directly on your curb side collection.

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