By Cassie Beigel of Sterilite Corporation
It seems that even though everyone knows the benefits to composting, people still find excuses to put it off. It’s too big of a project; people don’t want a big container sitting outside their house, whatever it may be everyone has thought it at some point. In reality it can be much easier than that. Although the process can seem intimidating, it doesn’t take a farmer or a green thumb to be good at composting. All that’s really needed are some food scraps and materials that are most likely already in or around the house.
Two Sterilite 18 Gallon Tuff1 Totes will be used to hold the compost. Using storage totes to compost is a great alternative for people who live in apartments or who want to make it a project with their kids. The containers can be left on the patio, small balcony, or wherever is most convenient. Now there shouldn’t be any more excused for why not to compost.
Air needs to circulate around the compost in order to help it decompose faster, therefore, holes need to be drilled into the totes. These air holes should be drilled around all sides of both totes and in the bottom of the top tote which will nest inside the bottom tote. Space these holes about 1-2 inches apart, using a ¼” drill bit. Once a good spot has been found to keep this compost bin, it’s time to fill it with the materials that will eventually turn scraps into compost!
The top tote will be filled with composting material and should consist roughly of ¾ of dry ingredients and ¼ of wet ingredients. Wet ingredients include the typical items that come to mind when people think of composting material. This includes fruit scraps, vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, coffee filters, etc. Keeping a Sterilite 1.6 Gallon StepOn Wastebasket in the kitchen to fill with unused scraps will make gathering these wet ingredients an effortless process.
Examples of dry ingredients to add includes dirt, fall leaves, strips of cardboard, pine needles, twigs, etc. Once the compost bin is filled with a mixture of wet and dry ingredients, seal the top tote with its lid. The bottom nested tote will be used to collect any liquid that drains from the bin. (also known as “compost tea” which makes an incredible fertilizer.) Finally, the composting process is ready to begin!
Shake the composting bin every day or so to make sure the compost stays oxygenated and well mixed. Try to maintain the same moisture level of the compost as it was in the beginning. If it gets too wet, the compost will start to grow mold and more dry ingredients should be added. Compost generates heat naturally so if the compost feels cold to the touch, it is most likely a sign that it needs more moisture and more wet ingredients should be added.
Compost can be created any time of the year, as long as the air temperature stays above freezing. When sticking to this process, the compost should be ready for use after about three months. Try composting now and the garden will be flourishing in no time!