While we are obviously huge fans of dumpsters here at Roll-Off Dumpster Direct, one of our favorite ways to dispose of waste is through composting. Composting is the process of recycling organic matter so that it transforms into rich, nutritious soil.
If you’ve never composted before, spring is a great time to start!
When you add compost to your garden, there is no need to use chemical fertilizer. Composted soil is high in nutrients that can nourish your plants. In fact, compost is superior to chemical fertilizer since it provides a diverse blend of nutrients that are not washed away by rainfall. Compost gradually release natural nutrients that nourish your plants over time.
On the other hand, store-bought fertilizer provides a quick burst of nutrients before getting washed away into streams, causing aquatic plants to grow out of control and harm the wildlife.
Reduce Your Impact on the Planet
Compost reduces greenhouse gas emissions in two ways. It reduces the amount of fuel burned by the trucks that would have hauled your composted items to the dump, and it allows your garbage to decompose in a way that is friendly to the environment.
In the landfill, organic matter breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen), a process that creates harmful methane gas. This process can also produce leachate, which can pollute groundwater.
If you have the space, you can start things off by simply piling up scraps in a corner of your yard. Many people prefer to contain their compost in a bin with a lid. You can purchase compost bins at any garden or hardware store.
Compost is made up of four elements: browns (leaves, wood chips, grass clippings, or shredded paper), greens (food and household scraps), water, and air. A good rule of thumb is to have twice as many browns as greens. If you get this balance right, you will have odorless, nutritious compost in 6-8 months.
What Can You Compost?
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Egg shells (crushed)
- Coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea leaves, and non-synthetic tea bags
- Spoiled soy/rice/almond/coconut milk
- Used paper napkins, paper towels, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, unwaxed paper plates, and paper bags
- Unwaxed pizza boxes, cardboard egg cartons, and cardboard boxes from cereal, pasta, etc. (Remove any plastic windows and shred)
- The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors, and the crumbs from snack food pacakging
- Cooked pasta or rice rice
- Stale bread, pitas, or tortillas, tortilla chips, candy, pretzels, granola bars, and potato chips
- Spoiled pasta sauce or tomato paste
- Stale crackers and cereal cereal
- Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which are toxic to plants)
- Popcorn kernels
- Old herbs and spices
- Pizza crusts
- Old oatmeal
- Avocado pits (chopped up so they don’t sprout)
- Wine corks (chop up so they decompose faster)
- Moldy cheese (in moderation)
- Melted ice cream (in moderation)
- Old jelly, jam, or preserves
- Stale beer and wine
- Toothpicks and bamboo skewers
- Paper cupcake or muffin cups
- Used tissue
- Hair from your hairbrush
- Trimmings from your razor
- Nail Clippings
- Dryer lint from natural fabrics
- Old cotton or wool clothes cut into pieces
- Bills and other plain paper documents, sticky notes, envelops, and non-glossy business cards(shredded)
- Pencil shavings
- Dust bunnies
- Contents of your dustpan
- Crumbs from under your couch cushions
- Newspapers (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
- Subscription cards from magazines (shredded)
- Burlap sacks (cut or torn into small pieces)
- Old rope and twine (chopped, natural, unwaxed only)
- Leaves trimmed from houseplants
- Dead houseplants and their soil
- Flowers from floral arrangements
- Used matches
- Ashes from untreated wood burned in the fireplace, grill, or outdoor fire pits (in very small amounts)
- Grass clippings
- Dead autumn leaves
- Sawdust (from plain wood that has NOT been pressure-treated, stained or painted)
- Paper tablecloths (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
- Crepe paper streamers
- Latex balloons
- Jack O’lanterns (smashed)
- Natural holiday wreaths, garlands, and Christmas trees
- Fur from the dog or cat brush
When in Doubt, Leave it Out!
When composting crumbs found under couch cushions or the contents of your dustpan, be sure to sort through and pick out items like pennies, legos, or other non-natural items. Remember, technically, any animal or plant-based item can be composted, but proceed with caution!
Your neighbors will not be happy with you if you throw bones, dairy products, meat, fish, or fatty items onto your pile. They will give off a strong odor as they break down, attracting critters from all over the area.
To learn more about composting, check out this video about the basics.