My Compost Pile – An Uncertain Future

From our Environment Scientist…

I mentioned in my last post about trying to reduce my food waste and starting a backyard compost pile.  I don’t have any experience composting.  My 1st attempt ended with failure.  My earthy friends said just make a pile in the backyard, so easy.  For me, not so much.  My dogs were over-joyed with the new snack bar I installed for them.  I couldn’t keep them out of it. Who knew old veggies buried in leaves was such a dog treat.  So I suspended my composting for a while to ponder a better plan…

You may ask why throwing food in the trash is an environmental concern.  Good question.   It’s easy to think about food waste as a moral issue.  Wasting food in the trash while people go hungry all around the world and our own communities is not a good feeling (I can hear Grandma’s voice).  But what happens to that “trashed” food in a landfill is an environmental problem.   Food in an unnatural landfill environment breaks down fast and produces methane gas.   Methane is a greenhouse gas (GHG) more potent than carbon dioxide and contributes to climate change.  I know some of you might protest the politics of climate change but either as a moral or an environmental issue, wasting food is not an activity I want to continue.  I’m attaching a snappy video the UN put together discussing the issue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoCVrkcaH6Q&feature=player_embedded

Compost BasketMy new plan involves actually buying a composting container.  Since I’m cheap, I bought a $30 plastic mesh container off Amazon.  I put in all the leaves my lawn guy has so conviently bagged for me this winter and my veggie kitchen scraps and mixed it all together.   So far, I’ve been a lazy composter.  I’m not really turning it much or watering it too often.  I keep adding veggie scraps to the pile to boost my “green” component.  I read the ratio of green things to brown things is key to the process.  I’m just waiting now for the spring heat to kick it into decomposing!

I’ll keep you updated on my experiment.  So far, no magic has happened, but I will keep dreaming of the day that I no longer will have to buy compost for my yard and flowers.

For actual information on how to compost (I’m sort of winging it), check out this composting guide.

http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/publications/gi/gi-036.html/at_download/file

– Renee

 

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