Getting Serious About Backyard Composting

by Alex ThatcherMay 19, 2017

Are You Ready To Take Composting Seriously This Summer?

Backyard composting is a simple and effective tool for a homeowner to combat household waste, and it’s becoming more critical with each passing year. Take a look at some startling household waste statistics:

  • We throw out 50 tons of household waste every second — a number that will likely double by 2030.
  • The average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day. This is 1.6 pounds more than what was generated back in 1960.
  • Every day, American families produce an estimated 4 million pounds of household hazardous waste (nail polish, paint thinner, batteries, etc.).
  • The amount of hazardous waste generated in 1 year can fill the New Orleans Superdome 1500 times over.

If these statistics have you scratching your head and wondering what you can do to make a positive impact, don’t worry – is here to help. Read on to learn more about composting, how to do it, and what the benefits are for your garden and the environment.

Backyard Composting Can Help Homeowners Significantly Reduce Household Waste

Composting is the process of producing organic material that can be added to garden soil to help plants grow. According to the EPA, food scraps and yard waste currently make up 20 to 30% of what we throw away – all material that could be composted instead. By composting organic waste, nutrients from food return to the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Basically, it’s an acceleration of the same process that nature uses to compost materials.

Backyard composting leverages compost material that you produce in your home. The process can be adapted to fit different lifestyles, home sizes, incomes, and ambition levels. Typically, backyard composting involves placing materials in open piles, burying materials in pits or trenches, and enclosing materials in drums or bins.

Ingredients Needed for Backyard Composting

  • Browns – For example: dead leaves, branches, and twigs.
  • Greens – This includes grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and ground coffee.
  • Water – Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development.


Backyard Composting Has Numerous Benefits

Composting kitchen and yard trimmings helps keep household waste out of landfills, waterways, and water treatment facilities where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. It also reduces pest problems, and because of that, it logically reduces pesticide usage, too.

Did you know that healthy plants grown within healthy soil have a much greater ability to fight off pests and diseases? Further, composting in your home can be a great educational experience for both adults and children and can help you save money.

Follow These Simple Instructions to Start Composting at Home

To start off, find a dry spot near a water source that has some shade. Once you have decided on the location, start adding brown and green materials, making sure they are chopped and shredded to small pieces; then add some water to keep them moist.

Once the pile is ready, mix the grass clippings and green waste, and bury fruit and vegetable waste under about 8-10 inches of your compost material. In order to prevent unpleasant odors, keep turning the compost around each week, and remember that it takes about two months for the compost to be ready.

In terms of the process, that’s it! Finished compost looks a lot like soil: it’s dark brown, crumbly, and smells like the forest floor. You can now feed it to your garden, flowers, potted plants, and lawns, and then sit back and watch your plants grow like crazy.

Homeowners: Avoid Composting the Following Ingredients

Keep in mind that not everything is compostable. On the contrary, adding the wrong ingredients can be detrimental to the soil and plants.
Make sure you don’t use ingredients like black walnut tree leaves or twigs, coal or charcoal ash, dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt), eggs, insect-ridden plants, fats, grease, lard, oils, meat or fish bones, scraps, pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter) and yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides.

Backyard Composting Should Be Every Homeowner’s Priority

Given the statistics mentioned at the start of this article, it’s clear that our waste problem is not going to disappear by itself. But the good news is that backyard composting provides an easy, cheap, and effective solution to tackle a growing problem in our homes, and it happens right in your backyard. So stop looking for excuses to not do it and start getting serious about making a positive difference to our planet. Happy composting!
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About The Author
Alex Thatcher
Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.

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