I love composting. I'm thrilled that I don't have to throw out any food scraps. I can't bear the thought of my food waste adding to the already maxed-out landfills. So this is how it works. I throw all fruit and veggie scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells, and bread into a cute little compost crock that sits on my counter. When it is full, it goes on its journey to the end of my yard, where it is emptied into the black monster. I cover each layer of old food with a bit of dirt, shredded newspaper or some dried leaves and make sure the whole thing stays moist (in the hotter months, I spray some water into the bin a couple of times a week). A few months later, all of that waste turns into odorless soft brown dirt, which is commonly known as compost. It seems to be a bottomless pit, because however much I put in just disappears.
There are a number of great composting bin alternatives now available. The main choice will be whether to get a spinning barrel or a regular bin design. The disadvantage with the spinner is that you have to wait until it's full—you can't keep filling and spinning because at some point you have to let the whole thing sit and compost for awhile!
The advantage is that the materials will compost faster as the pile is being oxygenated via the spinning process. If you get the conventional black bin monster, like mine, you can go on filling it daily, but you do need to turn the compost once a week and add an activator. You can purchase all of the above plus accessories from Real Goods (www.realgoods.com). If you live in an apartment that has any kind of outside area, suggest getting together with the other residents of your building to share one.
Published on January 01, 2006