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composting in 5 minutes

Compost In Just 5 Minutes a Week - Reenergize Household Waste

By Laura Bourland Rise Writer
Jul 3, 2020

Food waste accounts for nearly 40% of all trash in North America. In fact, in 2017, the EPA found that we're throwing away more than 38 million tons of food each year! In Canada, a study by the National Zero Waste Council found that 2.2 million tons of food went to waste in 2017.

When we consider our impact on the environment in daily life, waste reduction is one of the places we really can make a difference.

What is Compost?

Nearly all organic waste from coffee grounds, spoiled milk, and eggshells to grass clippings, cotton balls, and junk mail can be composted in your own home. Composting is the natural process by which organic material breaks down and rejoins the earth as soil. It happens every day naturally as trees drop their leaves and put nutrients back into the ground to support the tree's growth.

food waste

What Can I Compost?

  • Nuts and Grains: Bread, chips, rice, pasta, snack crumbs, nutshells.
  • Fruits and Veggies: Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, berries, apple cores.
  • Dairy and Other: Cheese, milk, eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds.
  • Around the House: Dryer lint, hair, tissues, bills, vacuum contents.
  • From the Yard: Grass clippings, newspaper, trimmings from plants.

Meat and bones can also be composted, but keep these out of home compost bins to avoid attracting unwanted visitors.

recipe for compost

Composting in Just 5 Minutes a Week

Composting is what you make it. It can be a really complicated, scientific experiment. OR, it could be as simple as tossing a bag of waste in the bin on cleaning day.

At its very basic structure, a compost heap is a layer of brown beneath a layer of waste repeated repeatedly. Brown can be anything dead and dry, including newspapers, bills, leaves, grass, and plant trimmings. 

The key to a healthy compost pile that doesn't smell is a balance of chopped up brown and kitchen waste. Chopping or grinding everything into small pieces will help it break down quicker. Got a smelly pile? Add more brown!

How long does it take to compost?

Composting takes less than five minutes a week.

  • Step 1: Choose an indoor bin for organic materials. A recycled coffee container works great!
  • Step 2: As you go about your week, add any organic waste to the bin. 
  • Step 3: When you empty your vacuum on cleaning day, grab your indoor compost tin and dump it all on the top of your compost heap. Add a layer of brown on top and water.

The whole process takes less than 5 minutes a week and will result in beautiful, rich compost to use in your garden. For best results, turn your pile regularly. A tumbling compost bin makes turning even easier.

composting tumbler

What Are the Benefits of Composting?

There's more to composting than just decreasing your household waste. As last week's spoiled milk and the previous month's veggie scraps break down naturally, they recycle into fertile, dark soil some refer to as "black gold." Yeah, it's that good! Once decomposed, your compost can stimulate the growth of any plant, including trees, houseplants, and vegetable gardens - in your indoor gardenoutdoor garden, or greenhouse. It's better than anything you can buy in stores, and it won't cost you a penny. In actuality, many municipalities charge annual fees for garbage, based on the size of the bin. Perhaps composting will allow you to downsize your bin and free up a few hundred dollars!

composting bin

Why Don't More People Compost?

If composting is so easy to do, why don't more people do it? Good question! And the answer is: They probably do! It may not be the most exciting topic of conversation over drinks with friends, but you might be surprised by the responses if you only ask. As we grow to be a more environmentally conscious society, companies are developing all sorts of urban compost bins for indoor use and limited space. People are composting in apartments, condos, vacation homes, and everything in between.

Broach the composting topic the next time you find yourself with silence between meetings or searching for a conversation on a first date. Who knows? You might discover shared interests in everyday waste management!

What Are You Waiting For? Start Composting!

The best way to learn about composting is to do it. And since it'll soon become part of your regular, everyday life, you'll learn as you go. 

Dual Batch Rolling Composter Lee Valley
Dual Batch Rolling Composter. Photo Credit: Lee Valley

Prepare Your Composting Area

Designate an area in your yard for compost. It can be as simple as a pile in a corner, or you can build a bin out of pallets and other upcycled waste material. You can buy a finished container made of wood or plastic. Some contain hatches at the bottom for digging out the compost that is ready to use. Some are on stands that roll/tumble to speed up the decomposition process. 

A regular household compost pile breaks down in about 3-6 months, so you can always move yours to a more convenient location after it made its transition to black gold. In fact, many people have more than one compost pile, each in different stages of decomposition.

Soften Your Environmental Footprint By Reenergizing Every Day Waste

No matter who you are, you create some amount of waste. From toilet paper rolls to that smoothie you can't finish, you can upcycle organic waste into the best dirt money can't buy.

As we all look to do more to support our earth and reduce the effects of climate change, trash is still one of our biggest problems. Every one of us can take responsibility for composting our household's organic waste to prevent it from contributing to landfills' growth. 

Just as you separate plastic jugs and aluminum cans, organic waste can also be sorted into its own container and repurposed into a usable material in your flowerbeds, garden, and potted plants. Composting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your footprint and live a more sustainable life.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-01-07T15:11:45+0000
Laura Bourland

Article by:

Laura Bourland

Laura grew up in the California suburbs, far removed from environmentalism, but nature always has a way. She uprooted her life in 2015, moving to the countryside of Washington to live a more sustainable and simple life on 12 acres. She and her fiancee are learning on the job as they attempt everything from gardening and natural pest control to eco-friendly building and home improvement.