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Earth Week Challenge #2 - Compost
You just finished cooking dinner and you have a pile of potato peels, stems, and bay leaves. Instead of tossing them into the trash, why not throw these food scraps into your compost pile?
When you compost, you recycle organic material that would otherwise end up in a landfill (or at the incinerator, if you are a Baltimorean).
Compost is a valuable resource, as it is used to naturally fertilize gardens and farms.
Unfortunately, compostable food scraps and yard waste make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away.
Why You Should Compost
Composting kitchen scraps:
- Is a great way to reduce waste and produce nutritious foods for your plants at the same time.
- Enriches the soil and provides a good environment for microorganisms, earthworms, and insects that break down soil elements — and, ultimately, help nourish those plants that never seem to grow.
- Slows down the loss of plant nutrients, preventing them from reaching and polluting water. Plant nutrients carry a significant amount of pesticides and excess nitrate content. An excess amount of soil content in groundwater can pose some serious threats to humans ranging from birth defects to cancer.
There are many ways to make a compost pile. Here are simple tips to get you started.
1. Select your location
Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile.
2. What to add
The best compost heaps contain a healthy mix of brown and green materials. Whole or chopped leaves, vegetable and fruit trimmings, leaves, and weeds are a few items you should add.
3. What not to add
Meats, bones, dairy, greasy food, and pesticides are a few things you should never add to your compost pile.
4. Add material regularly
Addding scraps regularly gives the happy bacteria some fresh food to consume and enough insulation to keep the process warm.
5. Turn your pile
Using a shovel or pitchfork, turn your pile every week or two to make sure your materials are blended and working together.
6. Keep it damp
Too little moisture will slow the decomposition process, while too much will leave you with a slimy mess.
7. Try a compost pickup service
Don’t have a back yard? Baltimore has its own compost pickup service available to homes and businesses.