Here at The Budget Ecoist we used to be terrified of the idea of composting. Bugs and garbage in our backyard? No, thanks! Then we realized how easy (and dare we say fun) it can be! 

What is composting? Composting is the process whereby biodegradable material (such as garden and kitchen waste) is transformed (decomposed by microorganisms) into soil. 

Why composting? Composting decreases your input into the landfill.  When applied to land, compost improves soil structure and enriches nutrient content.  Composting saves you money by eliminating the need to buy soil (if you’ve ever had to make repeated trips to the garden center while planting, you know what I mean). In addition, if your community bases your garbage bill on the size of your trash can, composting allows you to downgrade to the smaller trash bin. 

Quick and easy composting: If you’re not terribly into composting, you’ll find that you can put forth very little effort and still reap tremendous rewards.  Try these 3 easy steps to make your compost in 3-6 months: 

1. Collect your “browns” and your “greens.” Composting requires a 50/50 mix of ingredients that fall into these two groups.  “Browns” consist of dry materials such as wood chips, dried leaves, cardboard egg cartons, even newspaper (the ink is soy-based). “Greens” are fresh materials such as fresh leaves, grass cuttings, manure and food scraps (fruits, vegetables) to name a few.  Never use protein (meats, eggs, cheeses).

2. Place approximately equal amounts of your browns and greens into your composting bin or pile.

3. Soak pile with water to make it evenly moist (consistency of a damp sponge).

Continue to add materials to your pile and sprinkle it with water.  In 3-6 months you will have wonderful, fresh-smelling soil, and the great satisfaction that comes with creating something out of garbage!

Learn more about composting online or take a local class through your city’s Recycling department (look for notices in your garbage bill).