Make your own compost with a home composter

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Does your town collect leaves in the fall and Christmas trees in January? Often, this garbage is taken to a central location and shredded for use in landscaping all around town. Throughout the year, tree trimmings and grass clippings are often added to municipal compost heaps. Many cities offer this mulch and compost made from this mulch for a fee. Depending on how much money your town spends to support the program, these community composting centers can offer high grade compost or questionable compost contaminated with unhealthy scraps.

There’s no need to go to the town compost pile. Instead, turn to your back yard and take control over the compost that you use. Home composters are available that can handle any amount of kitchen scraps or yard waste. There are large and small composters available in just about any shape or color. For the fastest results, there are even tumbling composters and worm composters.

Composting with worms is very rewarding, because worms do all of the work of aerating and turning a compost pile for you. Instead of using a pitchfork to turn partially decayed compost, you can sit back and relax, knowing that your worms are happily at work. Worms work at all hours of the day, and they will quickly reproduce until their numbers match the available food supply. This biological feedback loop ensures that worm bins break down food scraps quickly and without wasting any effort.

Worm composters are self contained, and they don’t require any expensive supplies. In fact, they take “worthless” trash and convert it into high quality fertilizer, which can add up to some big savings. Home composting reduces the volume of trash that you throw away, and some garbage companies charge based on volume. Vermicomposting also saves money because it reduces the cost of landscaping and creates a soil amendment that’s perfect for filling cracks or depressions in the yard.

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Composting Toilets: Turning people poop into safe, usable compost

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Everybody poops. But few people use their poop to help around the garden. Most of our waste is carried away by sewage pipes and ends up far, far away. The thing is, waste contains tons of nutrients that plants love. It doesn’t make much sense to flush away fertilizer, and then spend money buying bags from the garden supply store. Toilets usually use more water than any other appliance in the home, and transporting sewage consumes a lot of energy. Most of that electricity comes from polluting sources like coal and natural gas. So, flushing the toilet wastes water resources and adds to our carbon footprint.

There is a better solution. Composting toilets are available that convert waste into fertilizer. Toilet Composters are safe, sanitary, and easy to operate. Composting toilets are also known as biological toilets, waterless toilets, and dry toilets. These toilets come in many different designs, but they all do basically the same thing: they use naturally occurring bacteria to turn excrement into soil. Human waste is very high in nitrogen, so a green toilet usually requires additional carbon to ensure proper composting. Toilet paper provides some carbon, but sawdust and leaves may also needed for balanced compost (and they can help control odors too).

Composting toilets work very much like other composters. They don’t fill up as quickly as you might think, because bacteria actively break down the contents into heat, gas, and compact soil. Given time, the contents of composter toilets will shrink to a fraction of their size. In general, human waste will reduce to 2-10% of its volume when converted into compost. This means that composting toilets are well suited for gradual use over an extended period (such as in a hunting cabin, RV, or single person home), but they may not be the best plumbing option for a family reunion or large BBQ.

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