Sustainability Series: Be Green, Compost at Home

by Denise McGuigan December 17, 2018

Sustainability Series: Be Green, Compost at Home

We’ve gotten really into composting this year, so our Sustainability Coordinator wanted to share her experience composting at home, to show you it’s not as intimidating as you think. Here’s her story:

I graduated with a Master’s in Sustainability. I don’t tell you this to brag or to claim to be an expert on the subject, but instead to emphasize my interest in being eco-friendly. That being said, my spouse is a data guy who loves hiking and cares about the environment, but who doesn’t want to “feel like a hippie” (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Needless to say, he was skeptical when I said I wanted us to start composting, and wasn’t thrilled to have to remember yet another thing he should do differently.

Even so, we gave it a go. I bought an outdoor composting bin so our dog couldn’t eat the discarded food scraps, and then I found a list on Pinterest indicating the Do’s (items you can compost) and Don’ts (things you can’t), and placed it on our fridge. We also found this EPA page to be a great resource, as well as this short cartoon video geared toward kids (yeah, we’re awesome) to learn about how to layer the bin properly with green (grass, organic matter) and brown (leaves) waste. Since our backyard is pretty small, we didn’t mind heading out to the bin each day, using old coffee containers and plastic bowls to temporarily hold the food scraps. However, a composting pail like we have in the office is a great tool to avoid fruit fly issues or potential smells, if you don’t plan to dump it outside each day.

After about a week or so, we noticed a few things:

  • Our trash never smelled because hardly anything was in it
  • We were using far fewer trash bags
  • We didn’t have any trash to bring to the curb come trash day

After a longer period of time, we noticed that our outdoor compost was starting to break down and would soon be ready for our garden – how awesome is that? We no longer have to buy compost mix at Lowe’s, saving some money! Plus, compost is great for increasing plant and vegetable production.

At this point, we have so little trash that we only need to take it to the curb once a month. This means, if your friendly neighbor also composts, you could theoretically share an outdoor trash can, splitting the cost. I love saving money, and would totally do this, I just don’t have any friendly neighbors…

To sum up, composting saves you money, makes your trash smell better, helps your plants grow, and makes you feel good. This last benefit is because as you encourage friends and neighbors to compost, there will be less demand for landfills in your area, meaning less toxins leaching into your water table and less Methane entering the atmosphere, improving the environment for future generations.

The greatest thing about my experience is that my spouse has gotten really into it. When we stayed with a friend overnight, he whispered, “I can’t believe she doesn’t compost. They have so much waste!”

A true composting skeptic has now become the composting enforcer in the household, helping the environment one food scrap at a time.

Denise McGuigan
Denise McGuigan


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