Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, and to help bring awareness, we’re going to discuss two things you can implement in your home to help the environment.
Compost consists of organic matter that has been decomposed down into a rich, fertilized soil. Because of its nutrients, it serves great use in organic farming and gardening. There are several benefits to composting at home, including the reduction of wasted space at landfills and its use in your own lawn and garden.
Composting, the process of creating compost, requires four things to effectively decompose the organic matter: carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and water. An easy way to keep your compost healthy is to provide a 50/50 mix of dry, brown material and wet, green material. The process will require you to mix the pile often to provide oxygen. You should also make sure it gets enough moisture, otherwise the decomposition process will take longer.
There are several options to get started with composting at home. You could get a large wooden like the one pictured (Exaco ECO Composter), a taller, black bin like this GeoBin which is easy to setup and affordable, or a solar heated cone system that comes with a kitchen caddy as well. Explore these and other composters on our site.
What Can I Compost?
Here are some examples of thing you can compost. Remember to try and feed your compost with a good 50/50 mix of dry, brown and wet, green materials. Really, almost everything that was living at some point can be composted, but some things may take longer to decompose.
Dry/Brown (Carbon-rich material)
- Fall leaves
- Small twigs and branches
- Paper coffee filters
- Shredded paper (newspaper, office paper, etc.)
- Paper towels
- Wood chips
Wet/Green (Nitrogen-rich material)
- Fruit and vegetable peels (or whole ones that have gone bad)
- Coffee grounds
- Tea bags
- Egg shells
- Plant trimmings and fresh leaves
- Cooked plain rice or pasta
Depending on the size of your compost, you could have rich soil ready to go in 3-4 months, or 5-6 months for larger piles.
Rain Water Collection
Another way to help the environment and save you money is to implement a rain water collection system (also called rain harvesting). The concept is that you collect excess rainwater from your home gutters during times of heavy rainfall and store it for use in your lawn and garden, especially through times of drought and water restrictions. Environmentally, you help lessen the amount of flooding that occurs on streets and lessen the amount of pollution that reaches our oceans through rainwater run-off. The run-off carries pesticides, oil and harmful, inorganic materials. Another added benefit is the use of rain water in your garden, where you’re feeding your plants soft water that doesn’t contain added minerals. Your plants will be happier!
The most common solution is a barrel that sits below your drainage gutters of your home. The barrel comes with a faucet where you can easily hook up your hose. They come in different colors and sizes to blend into its environment. For extra storage, you have the ability to connect multiple barrels together as well. Browse our selection of rain barrels on our site.
For more ways to go green this year for Earth Day, check out our Pinterest board, Living Green!