Have you ever wanted to start a compost? If you have a backyard or access to a community garden, then you already have the foundation to start! Living in apartments, we do not have a backyard; however, our university provides a place to compile our fruit and vegetable waste so it is transformed into nutrient-rich soil that is not only reducing trash output, but also fertilizing the campus. Arizona State University and University of Arizona both have an on-campus compost that students can contribute to as well!
Before starting a compost or preparing items to be sent to a local compost, it is helpful to know what items can be included. A peer-reviewed article outlining a model for food waste composting explains:
“There are three types of materials: nitrogen rich or green materials (bread, eggs shells, fruits and vegetables, pasta and rice cooked, tea bags, etc.), carbon rich or brown materials (brown paper bags, cereal boxes, coffee filters, wood chips, etc.), and not recommended materials for composting (cheese or any dairy products, meat, fish, fat, food scraps, bones, etc.). The materials must be established in order to compel the microorganisms to conduct a rapid and complete composting process.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food scraps and yard waste together currently make up about 30 percent of what we throw away, and composting at home limits the amount of methane emissions in landfills from that waste.
So, why wouldn’t you want to get started and help out your community or harvest your own tomatoes at home?