Welcome to Waste Reduction Wednesday premier post!
The intent of this section of the blog is to briefly discuss some interesting and unusual ways we can divert or eliminate waste in our daily lives. Some posts will be specific to waste in the context of things that may otherwise go to the landfill, but we will also address consumption of commodities, water, energy, food and materials. Our hope is to raise interest, educate, provoke thought, and amuse.
This week’s topic: Interesting things that can be composted in your backyard bin
The basic philosophy of backyard composting is “your kitchen your rules,” but there are some things that fall into the “don’t” category because of the issues they can cause. We do however have a pretty cool list of “do’s” including a few that may surprise you.
- Hair (human and animal)
- Dryer lint
- Contents of the vacuum cleaner bag (and if you still use actual paper vacuum bags, those too!)
- Manure of vegetarian animals such as chickens and horses. (Vegetarian animals only. Meat eaters like cats and dogs fall into the don’t category)
- Bird feathers
- Packaging – boxes for cereal, crackers, any paper or cardboard item (think of all those packages you get from warehouse stores and family packs). The inks are soy these days so they break down easily.
- Yard / plant clippings (you may want to refrain from cactus and palm fronds.Cactus for safety reasons when working your bin, and palm fronds take a very long time to decompose – maybe send those to the greenery)
- Junk mail, paper, magazines, wrapping paper, newspaper
- Food scraps including rotten food (no meat or dairy – we will address how those can be utilized in your compost bin in a separate post – key word bokashi)
- Human urine – yes you read that right!
Human urine is very rich in nitrogen, and according to a 2013 article in National Geographic, studies have shown that it is high in nitrogen and makes more carbon available to plants. Human urine has been utilized to fertilize crops for centuries around the world!
Ok ok – we may not be ready for the idea of using human urine on edible crops – but perhaps on non-edibles? I cannot relay any personal experience here. I regularly compost everything else on this list, but I have not tried this one yet. If you are interested in reading the full article in National Geographic, click here: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/10/human-pee-added-to-compost-boosts-crops/
Compost first, recycle second, landfill as a last resort.
If any readers wish to propose ideas or guest author a post for WRW, please contact us.