Day 2 of Eco-Life Challenge 2019: Save and Compost Your Food Waste


Did you know that of the “trash” we throw away almost 30% of it is composed of biodegradable matter? Durham’s landfill is full, and to say it’s unsustainable to offload our trash in other communities is an understatement. Composting is a fast and easy way to start reducing your waste today and doesn’t have to cost a thing!

I’ve found one of the simplest DIY solutions around at my folks house -- I first chose the location of the compost site, away from the house, just under the tree line, so it’s got a bit of shade in the summer. Then, I dug a hole in the ground and flipped an old dog crate upside down on top of it. Add the food scraps, make sure it stays a little moist, occasionally turn with a shovel and viola — you’re a composter! Add fallen leaves from the yard to bring carbon into the equation for a balanced ratio of organic matter.

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There may be another composting option that will work better for you. Besides the DIY method, you can purchase an outdoor tumbler, an indoor worm bin, or choose curbside service. So saddle up, and start your own compost at home / work / family member's home / school. There are so many places to begin composting!

CompostNow is our local area compost pickup service and will even supply you with your share of nutrient rich, composted soil if you want! If you do consume animal products, they can safely compost that waste too, a limitation of home composting (backyard DIY, tumbler & worm bins) and currently serve Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Cary, Morrisville, Apex + Asheville.

Recommended Action:

Save all your food and compostable waste for the day. Document the scraps and do what you can to make sure it gets composted. Other ways for using all the bits is to save and freeze vegetable scraps to homemake vegetable broth. You can also reduce food waste in the first place by creating meal plans, sticking to shopping lists and storing food properly for added longevity.

What to compost: Food scraps from fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice, eggshells, nutshells, coffee grounds + filters, breads + grains. Food soiled paper like, paper bags, towels + napkins, greasy pizza boxes, uncoated food-soiled paper. Plant and yard waste, such as leaves, branches and grass clippings and flowers + houseplants.

What not to compost: Animal products (meat, bones, dairy, etc.), fat or oil.


Benefits of Composting:

  • Close the loop. When we compost, all those nutrients are returned to the Earth, completing nature’s intended cycle. The results are a healthy soil bed, ready for planting flowers or food!

  • Composting prevents methane gas emissions! Bio waste in a landfill is dangerous. Rather than releasing regular ol’ CO2, bio waste emits methane gas, which is ~ 30 times more potent as a heat trapping gas than CO2.

  • Saves energy in the hauling and breaking down of waste and lengthens lifespan of the landfill.

  • Fast Fact: in 2010, composting and recycling alone prevented 85 million tons of waste from being dumped in the landfill. (source)