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Growing Greener: Composting

March 30, 2011

“Compost turns garbage into gardens”

A memorable quote from Dirt! The Movie

**Did you know that yard trimmings and food waste account for 26% of municipal solid waste in the United States (source: EPA)? **

Composting is something that my husband & I have wanted to do for a while, but store-bought compost bins sport a hefty price tag, and I don’t like to spend money. For some reason it never occurred to me that most compost bins are not fancy and that we can just build our own! One day  while blog surfing, I was inspired when I found several homemade and inexpensive compost heaps made from materials like chicken wire, plastic trash cans, and wood. I devised a plan to build a simple one using wood pallets.

I called several local box stores hoping someone would be willing to donate a few pallets to my cause, but Goodwill wouldn’t give me any, ReStore didn’t have any to spare, and I sat on hold for 10 minutes when I called Lowes. The next day the kids & I were shopping at Bloomingfoods (my local co-op) when I saw a man loading a truck full of pallets from the back of the store. I told him my plight, and he gave me 4 pallets. Free!

Erik anchoring it together.

The beginning of our heap.

My husband built the compost bin by screwing the pallets together in a square, and putting hinges on the front pallet so that we can easily access the compost. I think it took him 15 minutes total. We then filled the pile with dead leaves and other random yard waste, mixed it and watered it. We have been adding food scraps and tea bags to it daily, and I’m so excited to not be throwing them away any longer. We’ll add some more nitrogen-rich green stuff as soon as the grass starts growing, and before we know it, our waste will be feeding our plants! Why did we wait so long?!?!

“Roses are red, violets are blue.

Compost works, so gather the doo.” ~Marion Owens

For more info visit the EPA’s compost page: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/rrr/composting/index.htm

See here for a great how-to composting resource: http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/rrr/composting/by_compost.htm

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