Thoughts on Composting

February 06, 2017

If any of you have read my post on garbage management issues, you would be aware of my concerns about waste disposal. One good alternative to burning trash, in my opinion, would be building a compost bin. It has its benefits: waste reduction, production of soil that is good for plants and reduces pests without pesticides. However, the composting process is not as simple as it sounds and ergo, it is a challenge to do.

Compost Pile - Photo from Antranias on Pixabay

I remember hearing about composting from a friend of mine who tried it. I mentioned wanting to do it myself but was discouraged because, as he told me, it is very hard work. I must admit, reading through the steps that you should go through in the composting process is very intimidating. It is a lot of hard work and takes commitment and patience and I am still on the fence about doing this at home.

There are two types of composting that I have read about: one is Worm Composting, which involves the use of worms (obviously) to decompose waste. Another is Backyard Composting which is basically setting up a composting area in your backyard. For both types of composting you can choose between using a compost bin or setting up a compost pile.

Personally, I think that the worm option will produce compost faster BUT the thought of handling worms is a bit uncomfortable for me so I’m going for backyard composting. I’ve read about setting up compost bins that can be as small as setting up a small plastic bin or a large drum/tumbler to put your compost in. For those who are going to be just trying this out like me, the small plastic bin seems to be the right choice (yes, I am so close to chickening out on this).

I’ve read that you can use wood bins but since compost will produce moisture, it might not be a good idea. Plastic, being non-biodegradable, is advised (although the thought that I am trying to help the environment by using something that is not biodegradable makes me feel like a hypocrite). According to Recycle Works, a good bin would be 10 x 19 x 12 inches with holes drilled on the lid and a tray placed underneath to catch any liquid that will result from composting. This is a messy business, from what I’ve read.

The important thing to remember is that there are things that you can and cannot compost. Just because something is biodegradable it doesn’t mean it can be composted. For example, you can compost paper but it cannot be colored. It would also have to be shredded or cut into small pieces. While food scraps can be included, you cannot add in fat, meat and bones in the compost pile. Manure can be added, but it would have to be from herbivores. There is a whole list of what can and cannot be added to a compost pile. A good list of what you can compost is on Small Footprint Family.

One more thing: there is a ratio of the types of materials that you should put in the bin (or pile) that will help move things along. There is also the need to mix up the pile or the contents of the bin to help the composting process. Like I said, it’s a lot of hard work.

I am tempted to give this composting thing a try (on a small level, just to see if I can pull it off) but I am scared about failing. I know that I have a short attention span when it comes to things like this and I don’t know if all the initial effort will be worth it.

Lucky for me, I’ve read that there are now products like the Zera Food Recycler from Whirlpool that can convert and compost food scraps in as short as 24 hours. I wish that we had that here in the Philippines, I’d probably save up for it if it were, although I have this scary feeling that it is probably very expensive!

Have any of you tried composting? Would you ever consider giving something like this a try? What do you think?

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