Tag Archives: compost

Go Green-Compost Wasted Food and Kitchen Scraps

Go green-compost wasted food and kitchen scraps!  You would be amazed by how many food scraps you throw away.  In an article in the NY Times: From Farm to Fridge to Garbage Can  Tara Parker-Pope talks about how much wasted food there is in the US.  From rotting food in the fields to food scraps getting lost in the refrigerator.  Several studies were done estimating that we waste about 25% of the food that we buy.

The wasted food from our homes ends up in the landfill unless we do something ourselves to process it and keep it out of the garbage.  We are running out of space for landfills in some areas of our country.  Kitchen scraps make up approximately 20% of what is in our landfills.  When this food rots in an anaerobic environment it produces methane gas which is a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming.

Go Green Compost Wasted FoodAnother issue about food rotting in landfills is that it could really be rotting in compost piles or vermicomposters, using aerobic processes which could give the goodness of the food back to our land.  In a local government website that encourages composting they state that their only landfill is already half full.  They recommend vermicomposting or soil incorporation.  Because of a rodent problem in that area, composting food scraps in compost bins is not permitted.  Soil incorporation involves burying your food scraps underground.  I have often buried my food scraps and it works out well.  You get exercise digging the holes and the scraps enrich your garden soil.  They decompose quickly.  I have gone back after a few weeks to see their status and mostly they have disappeared.  Once you have the food scraps in the hole you need to chop them into smaller particles with the shovel and mix them into the dirt.  This speeds the decomposition process.

So, go green this New Year and consider recycling your food scraps with vermicomposting, composting or soil incorporation.  In my experience worm composting will not take care of all your food scraps so consider a secondary composting method also.

What better way to start a new, greener year than to make a commitment to some type of composting.  It works out well for all of us and the Earth, the soil, the environment, all the organisms that live in the soil and for the landfills!

Happy Holidays to all!

Shredding Leaves for Composting

Shredding LeavesAfter being so excited about our new leaf blower/vacuum shredding leaves for composting, I found that there is a lot of controversy about leaf blowers.  You can see from this picture that the mulching leaves feature of the vacuum does a great job of creating shredded leaves.

Leaf blowers bring out a lot of heated negative emotions in communities because they are so noisy and intrusive, they create and blow around a lot of dust and particles and give off fumes.  Several communities in California and New York have banned them for at least part of the year.

Of course one could buy a shredding machine to avoid buying a leaf blower/vacuum.  But garden shredders are noisy also and the one I looked at cost about 4 times as much as our leaf blower/vacuum.  Though the shredder would mulch wet and dry leaves.  We found that when we vacuumed right after the leaves had fallen off the tree the vacuum got jammed more often.  I think it was because the leaves still had moisture in them.  It worked much better a few days later when the leaves were drier.

It is certainly more meditative and healthy to rake leaves and sweep sidewalks.  The difference between raking and using a leaf blower is like night and day. Gas driven models are noisier and usually more powerful than electric models.  We purchased an electric model and it seems somewhat noisy to me.

So instead of using the vacuum for the whole job we rake the leaves into piles and then vacuum and mulch them.  So we still get to rake.  Because raking is fun.  It is a way to experience the fall, breathe the fresh air, smell leaves and have fun.  Kids love to rake and then jump in the piles.

So my conclusion is that I think we are stuck with some type of shredding machine.  The leaves compost so much better when they are shredded.  And we need the browns in the composter.  More on the greens and browns in the next post.