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Guide to Backyard Composting

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By composting your kitchen and yard waste you can reduce the waste stream out of your home by up to 35%!

Organic waste sent to landfill releases methane as it decomposes. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. By composting our organic waste, instead of sending it to landfills, we can reduce dangerous emissions and create a useful product that enriches the soil.

How Do I Start Composting at Home?

While you can purchase a composting bin, if you have some extra space in your yard then you don’t have to. There are two main types of backyard composting:

  • Open Pile Composting
    This is best for those who have more space and can ensure their compost pile is in an out-of-the-way location. An open pile may require more maintenance, but the material will break down sooner.
  • Closed Bin Composting
    This is best for those who have smaller properties, or anticipate problems with pets and/or pests. There are several different options for composting bins: Enclosed bins, tumblers, rolling bins, and worm bins (vermicomposting).

Gardening Tools

What do I Need?

For successful outdoor composting you need three things:

  • Brown Material
    Produces carbon.
    • Dead leaves
    • Branches and twigs
    • Paper coffee filters
    • Shredded paper, cardboard, or newspaper
    • Sawdust or wood chips
  • Green Material
    Produces nitrogen.
    • Grass clippings and leaves
    • Table scraps (no meat or dairy)
    • Fruit and vegetable scraps
    • Tea leaves and coffee grounds
    • Egg shells
  • Water
    Your compost needs the right amount of moisture. If your compost is too dry it will not break down, too wet and it will begin to grow bad bacteria and may smell bad.

How Do I Make Compost?

  1. Select a location
    Choose a dry, shady spot close to a water source.
  2. Layer
    Add your brown and green materials in alternate layers. You want to aim for a ratio of 3 parts browns to 1 part greens!
  3. Water
    Keep your compost moist. Be careful to not let it get too wet!
  4. Turn
    Speed up the composting process and stop things from getting smelly by regularly turning your compost. Some compost bins have a system built in to allow you to do this easily. If you’re using an open pile you can use a gardening fork to turn your compost.
  5. Repeat
    Repeat steps 2 - 4! Your compost is ready when it is dark brown and there are no remnants of waste.

What Not to Compost

In order to keep your compost healthy, there are some things you should avoid:

  • Materials that do not break down easily, such as metal and glass.
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants
  • Pet waste
  • Meat & Bones
  • Dairy Products
  • Pesticide treated yard trimmings

No backyard? No problem! Take a look at our indoor composting tips.

At Elevate Packaging, we love compost! By composting our organic waste we can turn it into a product that helps our soil - at the same time reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills!