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> Monday, March 21st, 2011 > Lifestyles > Food for thought: Composting is easy
Food for thought: Composting is easy
Mark Facchin and Jessica Wilkie
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Published: Monday, March 21st, 2011
Spring is almost upon us (or at least we all hope that it is) and soon there will be flowers blooming and gardens growing. It is fair to say that most people know how important it is to reduce, reuse and recycle, but the impending change in the weather reminds us of another type of waste that can be easily diverted from the landfill and to our gardens.
Composting is great way to recycle organic waste into usable fertilizer for plants. It is inexpensive and easy to do, plus it reduces the amount of organic food waste going into the landfill every year, where it breaks down and produces methane gas which pollutes our atmosphere. Every single one us can find our own way to compost at home, in our apartments and at school.
If you live in a home with a backyard, then composting is very easy. Your compost bin can be as simple as a few wooden stakes surrounded with chicken wire, to more complex plastic ones with various features. You just place it in a shady area, away from the house, add some soil, throw in your kitchen scraps and let nature do her work.
Composting in an apartment is a slightly different matter. Unless you live on the ground floor, you likely don't have much outdoor space to utilize for this purpose. For people in this situation, there are a few good options. If you do a little research online you'll find that there are many do-it-yourself or manufactured bins that are designed to be used indoors. These composters should have a feature that reduces odour, which will obviously be very important when you are living in a smaller space. Generally, indoor composters are small and are built to fit underneath your kitchen sink or in another cupboard.
So what exactly can you throw in your composter? Essentially, you can compost all plant material that you would otherwise throw away: peels, cores, rinds, stems, seeds, trimmings. You can compost vegetables that you left in the fridge too long and have gone bad, those week-old flowers that your significant other gave you, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, bread, etc. It is recommended that you do not try to compost meat or dairy products as they will just turn rancid. If you are really serious about it, you can also compost un-dyed paper towels, shredded cardboard, newspaper, napkins and even toilet paper. All of these products can contribute to nutrient-rich compost that you can use for your potted plants and outdoor gardens. If you personally do not have any use for the compost you produce, you can always give it to someone who does or just spread it around some nearby greenery.
If you live on campus here at Fanshawe and want to keep your food waste out of the garbage, the college has a number of composting bins in and around the major food outlets as well as outside. Keep an eye out for them when you're walking around and remember them next time you have some food to throw out. As a note of interest, the culinary school, as one of the biggest producers of food waste on campus, has a very well used composting program. All the food waste produced during labs is placed in a separate bin from the garbage and is collected for compost.
So, as you are peeling and chopping vegetables for that new recipe you are trying, consider keeping those food scraps out of the garbage and give composting a try.
For more information, visit tinyurl.com/londoncompost. Got questions, comments or suggestions? Feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org