How to make your own compost & reduce waste

What is Composting?


Composting is done by decomposing organic matter. There is what we call the brown and green in composting. The green and brown materials will decompose themselves and turn into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that will help your garden grow. This will help us reduce the waste we produce.


What is green and brown?


The greens that we are referring to here are the materials that are rich in nitrogen or protein. These greens have microorganisms that grow and multiply quickly and helps the compost to heat up.


On the other hand, browns are carbon or carbohydrate-rich materials. They are the food sources for the microorganisms from the greens that will help in breaking down the contents of your compost.

They also help to add bulk and help allow air to filter through the pile.


What are some materials you shouldn’t add to your compost?


Even though it is full of kitchen scraps and waste, there are still some restrictions on what to add to your compost.

These are the top 5 waste we must not include in our compost :

1. Bread 

This includes pasta, cakes, and other pastry food waste.

2. Dairy Products

They can attract pests or flies

3. Oil or any fat-based condiments

They will not break down and will just sift down the moisture balance of your compost

4. Heavily coated paper

They have high chemical content and non-compostable.

5. Walnuts

They contain juglone, a natural aromatic compound considered toxic to plant life.


How to start composting?

Look for a place outside for your compost pile. Others like to do it on the ground, while some people prefer to keep it in a tub. The tub is ideal especially if you want to avoid pests or flies from swamping your compost.


Then pile it up!


First, place the twigs or straw. Add the moist and dry ingredients. It should be done alternately. Dry materials include leaves, sawdust pellets, and wood ashes. It is better to sprinkle wood ashes in thin layers because they might clump together and it will take a while to break them down.

Next is to add manure, green manure, or any nitrogen-rich material. Adding manure will speed up the process.

Don’t forget to keep it moist or let the rain shower it for you.

Also, it is crucial to cover it because pests and flies might swamp over and it may be over-watered by the rain.

Lastly, it is very important to give it a quick turn from time to time. This will help air get into the compost. 


The Ratio


The best ratio to follow is four parts brown to one part greens.

It is crucial to get a good mix of the materials because the compost might not heat up or it will take forever to break down the materials if the right ratio is not followed.


List of Nitrogen and Carbon


Here’s a guide you can follow for the nitrogen and carbon materials :


Nitrogen

Carbon

Tea leaves

Leaves

Seaweeds and kelp

Twigs

Grass clippings

Straw or hay

Fruit and vegetable scraps

Corn stalks

Flowers

Paper

Coffee grounds 

Sawdust pellets

Chicken manure

Pine needles

Lawn and garden weeds

Dryer Lint

Eggshells

Cardboard (Pack & Leaf’s compostable packaging)


At the end of the day, these things will decompose no matter what. However, if your pile is not heating up you need to add more green materials to your compost. If it smells, you need to add more brown materials.

These simple ways of composting will greatly help us reduce the waste we produce. If you want to know more tips and ways on how to reduce waste and live a zero-waste life, you can follow us on Instagram @packandleaf and we will guide you in your zero-waste journey.