The Not-So-Dirty-Secrets-Of-Dirt

Written by Nandita Batheja

It’s International Composting Awareness Week!

Okay, maybe that just makes you roll your eyes, because every week is some “goodness” week if you look hard enough. But at art & eden, we’re happy for any reason to celebrate and build up our practice of sustainability.

What is compost, actually?

Compost is a mix of organic matter that decays over time, resulting in amazing fertilizer for plants. It’s made up of food scraps (like veggie/fruit skins, egg shells, tea bags, leftover meat-free food, etc.) and yard waste (leaves, grass, garden waste, etc.) that are digested and decomposed by microorganisms (like worms!).

It starts out looking like kinda icky garbage, but it ends up as rich and nutrient dense soil.


Why should I do it?

If you don’t have your own garden, it may seem like there’s not much incentive to compost.

But actually, compost is an incredible way to teach and practice low to zero waste living. Even if you don’t end up using the compost you create, you’re reducing the massive amounts of waste that pollute our landfills while aiding the growth of new organic matter.

Many city-folk who don’t have the slightest interest in gardening still keep a small compost bin at home, dropping it off at a local farmer’s market or the nearest drop-off site. That way, they’re still feeding the farms nearby that make the fresh produce they can then buy back at the market.

Finally--our most classic answer--you should do it for the kids! The best way to teach sustainable practices is to live them. When composting is a part of their daily routine, kids don’t think twice about the process of recycling waste. It creates a healthy and easy introduction to the idea of reduce, reuse, recycle and the cycle of decay and regeneration.

Plus, all kids like playing with dirt ;)

How do I do it?

Even though compost might seem intimidating to those who’ve never done it before, it’s actually incredibly simple to do! Piedmont Master Gardeners put together a wonderful compost guide that outlines how to make your own compost pile right at home. Use it for your herb garden, your flowers, or your own square foot garden.

Or, if you’d rather contribute to your neighborhood compost, that’s even simpler! All you need is some kind of bin--an old coffee container or store bought compost bin--and some space in your freezer or kitchen.

Just toss your food scraps in accordingly (see below) and then drop off your full bin at your nearest compost drop off center. If you live in NYC, you can find compost areas at your nearest greenmarket and at any of these drop-off sites!

If you already compost, or if this post has inspired you to start, share your story with us at #thebetterway. Let’s keep recycling the good will. Happy composting!

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