How to Start Composting and What Can Go Into The Compost Bin
Updated: Jun 2, 2019
I always thought of composting as a complicated thing. It’s possible that my perception has been formed based on my brother’s meticulous composting attitude. Like other hardcore composters, my brother is very specific about what should and shouldn’t go into the compost bin. While cooking in his kitchen I often find myself stressing out, fearing to hear again the speech on why eggshells should not be put into the bin. As a busy individual I felt that composting will require a lot of research and understanding on what should and shouldn't go into the compost bin. So perhaps it’s no surprise that it took me a long time to start composting.
Five months ago I went to the hardware store and bought what looked like the most basic compost bin, a 200 litre plastic container which sits directly on the ground, allowing worms and other earthly creatures to crawl in and enjoy the party. I placed the bin in our backyard, not too far from the kitchen, knowing that every extra step will make it less likely for me to keep up with the new habit. Unlike my brother, an engineer who always looks to get the optimal outcome, I’m fine with “good enough”. I'm not interested in getting the highest quality compost, I am just looking for a way to reduce the amount of waste which goes into our trash, while keeping it as simple and easy as possible, so that I can incorporate composting into my life without having to think about it too much. I’m being extremely loose about what goes into the bin. I am not concerned at all how long it would take to turn into compost, as long as it’s organic matter and eventually turn into compost, I’m happy.
I started dumping organic waste into the bin without knowing what to expect, and to be totally honest I was skeptical whether or not this experiment will succeed. To my delight, within less than a month the compost bin was filled with hundreds of larvae who feasted on the waste and helped turning it into a black matter. I tried to convince my wife to come check it out but alas, it appears we don’t share a common enthusiasm for larvae (nevertheless, I think she was pleased to see my excitement, just as long as she didn’t have to deal with the larvae). At some point there were so many of them in there that you could hear them crawling. Okay, I admit it was a bit creepy.
I've been composting for more than 5 months now. It has been super easy and fun. I don't have to do a thing, not even mix the contents of the bin. I just keep on adding waste every day, yet the level of waste in the bin remains the same. We eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, producing large amounts of organic waste, on average 800 grams a day (24 kilos a month, 288 kilos a year!!!). We used to fill up the kitchen trash bag every 5 days, since we started composting it takes more than 2 weeks for us to fill one trash bag, which means we consume less plastic bags, and we reduce the amount of trash that needs to be transported from our house to a dumpster by a fuel burning truck.
Cost: bin $44
1 year effect: reduce number of trash bags used from 73 to 26 and save 288 kilos of trash from being transported to a landfill.
How challenging to implement: easy
How challenging to keep going: easy