Embrace this easy way to reduce your carbon footprint
At HeyBamboo, we’re all about eliminating the unnecessary waste from wiping; after all, it’s our business to help you handle your business in an eco-friendly, sustainable way, but what about other areas? It’s not just our potty habits that affect the planet.
Each year, landfills in the U.S. accumulate 139.6 million tons of waste.
You might guess that something like plastic or textiles would comprise the largest percentage of tonnage; you may be surprised to find that food takes the top spot. Yep! When that deviled egg seems less than desirable, or the pungent pizza gets tossed, our landfills are the lucky recipients.
Is this really the best solution for our scraps? Landfills are less than optimal when it comes to food waste; there is a better option.
Once you’ve taken care of your T.P., there’s another way you can work to eliminate the waste you send to landfills and fight greenhouse gasses in your own backyard. Consider composting!
You can use your organic waste to combat climate change, one banana peel at a time!
The Science Behind Composting
What you mistake for a heap of rubbish decomposing is actually a complex scientific process involving chemical reactions and various fungi, bacteria, and microorganisms. Don’t worry; a degree in biology isn’t required.
In the simplest form, composting means collecting and storing plant material so that it can undergo the natural process of recycling. This process involves multiple organisms working to break down the material so that it can release nutrients to plants and improve the soil.
Bacteria and fungi are considered chemical decomposers because they use chemicals in their body to break down organic matter.
What Happens to Food Waste Otherwise?
The 30 million tons of food waste that end up in landfills each year sit and rot. Not only do the wasted food nutrients never end up back in the soil, but the rotting produces methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
The circumstances in a landfill are not conducive to the proper decomposition of food. Dumps are designed to store material, not to break it down, and that’s due to a lack of oxygen; essentially, the garbage can’t breathe, and that’s what it takes for composting to commence!
What’s truly telling about our landfills is the fact that they’re responsible for approximately 11% of all global methane emissions. Food waste is one of the greatest contributors to elevated levels of greenhouse gases. As our population grows, that 11% is expected to climb to 70% by the year 2050 if our current food waste habits remain.
Perhaps you’re wondering, “How can I compost?” Well, we have some beginner-friendly tips to get you on your way to becoming an organic waste guru!
What do I need?
To bin or not to bin, that is the question. You can accomplish successful composting either way. Your composting style is completely up to your situation. Typically bins are a “no-brainer” method for composting when limited space is available, and compost heaps or piles are best suited for those with larger outdoor spaces.
The perk of a bin is that your waste is contained and remains tidy in the confined area; however, the perk of a pile is that you’re able to compost a far greater amount of waste.
Where do I go?
Those chemical decomposers do their best work in fairly stable conditions, so it’s best to let them enjoy a spot where the temperature and moisture are consistent. Choose a partially shaded spot where your bin won’t be dried out from the sun or become saturated by rain.
Whether you purchase a bin or make one yourself, it’s best that you place the bin directly on the soil. It may seem sensible to place it on a concrete pad or other surfaces, but you want those worms! Placement directly on the soil allows for the worms, insects, and microbes in the soil easy access to your
What’s the routine?
When you’re finished eating, scrape your scraps into the compost bin! It’s that simple! Definitely plan for your food scrap collection process, though.
A fantastic tip is to be prepared when you’re preparing meals. If you don’t have a predetermined place for food scraps, it’s likely they’ll just end up in the trash. Designate a “compost collecting bin” and use it when you’re chopping veggies or cleaning the kitchen. This handy container will be your companion to each compost pile visit.
Once you have a compost collection started, to speed up the composting process, give it a good mix! From time to time, turn your compost. This can be handled easily with a garden tool or even by dumping out the contents of the bin and refilling it.
You’ll know you have good compost composition when the mixture is dark brown with a crumbly soil texture.
What do I do with it?
Compost is a gardener’s best friend. In fact, it has the nickname “black gold.” It really is an ingredient for super soil!
Get that compost into your garden! Unlike chemical fertilizers, you can’t have too much compost! A 2-3 inch layer is perfect for your plants to thrive.
What compost can do:
- Add nutrients
- Help your garden retain moisture
- Reduce the need to add fertilizer
- Aid in disease resistance
Another takeaway, besides the excellent planting soil, is an inventory of your household food waste. Looking at your compost pile might make you rethink your food preparation and ways to minimize waste!
Maybe you want to make adjustments to your meal prep or learn to use leftovers more efficiently. Consider what clues your compost has for you and your eating habits.
What about other waste?
Actually, you can increase the speed of your composting by mixing in other materials. Lawn clippings, leaves, weeds, and coffee grounds all make the cut. Additionally, an even mix of moist, soft materials with drier ones will make those microbes oh so happy!
Here are some examples of possible compostable combinations:
- vegetable waste
- fresh lawn clippings and weeds
- coffee or tea grounds
- green plant cuttings and flowers
- non-colored or glossy paper
- dried leaves
- crushed eggshells
Tips to remember:
- You can compost year-round
- You’ll typically have composting success in less than six months
- Even small spaces like balconies will work
- Meat, bones, eggs, grease, and dairy are slow to compost and may cause smells or attract rodents
- Don’t forget to remove produce stickers
We Encourage You to Compost
At HeyBamboo, we want to be your partner in living a sustainable life and encourage you in all things eco-friendly. In addition to enjoying all the benefits of bamboo toilet paper in your potty and on our planet, consider composting as another way to contribute.
It really is a simple solution to do your part in cutting greenhouse gasses, and you’ll have your own stash of “black gold” as a benefit!
Make use of your waste and impact climate change by composting!
Joslyn Faust is the founder of HeyBamboo, where she has made it her mission to eliminate the waste of wiping! Through knowledge, compassion, and intentional habits, she believes we can make a difference in the future of our planet. Joslyn embraces efforts that curtail climate change and is committed to doing her part in saving our trees, one T.P. roll at a time. You can connect with her on Linkedin.