Compost and Reduce Your Landfill Waste

Today I’d like to tell you about our compost container. We found it at Sam’s last year. And I just LOVE it.

It’s called the SoilSaver Classic Composter. If you don’t have a Sam’s in your area (my northwest friends), I’m sure Costco has similar products. It’s also available on Amazon and other online merchants if you’re open to ordering such things online.

I would recommend composting to anyone who has the space and means to do so! It is so easy and it greatly reduces our garbage that goes to the curb. This is what I love most about composting. Because, though it would be great fertilizer for a garden, we do not currently have said garden. Or at least anything beyond the few pots we have growing on our balcony.

I thought about taking a picture of the composter but it’s pretty plain to look at on the outside (see link above if you haven’t already) and I really didn’t think anyone would be all that keen on looking inside at our decomposing fruits, vegetables, and rabbit poo we have filling the container.

Yes, I said rabbit poo. We are raising rabbits – for meat (like chickens.) I know, this is a topic I haven’t broached yet. I’m not going to get into it much now. Suffice it to say, we have three rabbits that are for breeding purposes only. We won’t be eating them. And we haven’t bred them for any litters yet. This is a new adventure for us, like many. Time will tell as to how it pans out. For those animal conscious folks out there, we take great pains to care for the rabbits as well as we can, plenty of food and water, condo-sized cages (larger than most I’ve seen rabbit farmers use), and lots of other little extras to give them a good quality of life. We may like to eat meat but we have firm beliefs against animal cruelty – one of the reasons we want to raise our own and are trying to get away from buying commercially grown meats. But, that’s another story for another time.

Getting back to composting. How does it work, you ask?

Easy. We keep a bucket in the kitchen under one of the counters where we toss all our fruit and vegetable scraps. We dump the bucket into the composter periodically, about once a week or so. Sometimes we get lazy and it goes longer. Does it smell? Nope. I mean, sure there’s some odor but it’s not stinky odor. Again, that plays into how often you dump the contents. Also, if there’s a lot of fruit like banana peels or strawberry stems, those will produce fruit files pretty quickly so I make an effort to dump the bucket that day when I’m working with fruit. But veggies can go a long time in the bucket, things like onion skins, egg shells, bits of celery, bell pepper innards, etc. All these things can be composted and won’t stink up your house if waiting to go outside for a week or so. We also compost our coffee grounds. Again, just smells like coffee. 🙂

So, what exactly can you compost? Well the list is so long that sometimes it’s easier to say what NOT to compost.

DO NOT COMPOST

  • meat
  • fat
  • grease
  • oils
  • bones
  • cat or dog droppings/litter
  • lime
  • colored paper
  • ashes
  • non-biodegradable materials
  • toxic materials

If in doubt, look it up or don’t compost it. That’s my rule.

Here’s a more detailed list of things you CAN compost and other how-to compost information.

One other technical part of the composting. You have to turn your compost. In this regard I’ve envied some of the other models out there that are designed to turn or spin. See example one and example two. With my model, I pick the entire thing up and set it just next to the pile, then I shovel everything back into the container, the top of the pile now going to the bottom in this manner. I do this about once a month. Three week intervals would probably be even better, but since we aren’t using the compost for anything other than reducing our landfill waste, I really haven’t worried when the time between turnings runs long. Also, with just the two of us, we’ve never filled the container even halfway over the last year and this method of turning has been easy to do. But since mucking out the rabbit waste recently the container is now 3/4 full and I have a feeling the next turning is going to be interesting. This particular model does come with a door at the bottom for shoveling out the bottom and transferring it to the top. I may be employing this method in the future.

On an average week, between our composting and avid recycling of paper, plastic, tin, aluminum, cardboard, and glass, we generate one, maybe two, 13 gallon bags of garbage. Every time I recycle or compost something, I feel better that it’s not going into a landfill somewhere. I urge everyone to reduce, reuse, recycle as much as possible – and compost if you can!

I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.
~ Mother Teresa

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One comment

  1. Composting makes a huge difference! In our municipality, backyard composters are sold are discounted rates to residents. We also provide residents with weekly GreenCart collection for food scraps (including meat and bones, fruits, veggies, etc.) and compostable papers (paper towels, etc.) To help foster enhanced recycling and composting, garbage is only collected once every other week — but Blue Box recycling and GreenCart composting is collected once a week.
    – John Watson, Waste Diversion Education Coordinator, Halton Region
    BLOG http://www.haltonrecycles.ca TWITTER @HaltonRecycles

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