Going Green - Composting

Spring is here in Maine which means it’s gardening and lawn season and here at iBec we’ve started composting to help keep our gardens healthy and reduce waste! We make a lot of coffee here at the office and those coffee grounds, along with scraps and leftovers from lunches and happy hours, are a great addition to any compost heap.

What is composting?

Simply put, composting is decomposition. Yes, it has a “distinct” smell but the decomposition of food scraps and lawn trimmings helps to add nutrients back into the soil all while reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

Why is composting important?

Reducing the amount of unnecessary waste that ends up in landfills is important to help conserve space in our landfills and avoid the need to build more landfills, and composting is also great for soil nutrition. Organic waste in landfills generates methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas. By composting, wasted food and other organics, methane emissions are reduced. Compost can also reduce and can even eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.

What can and cannot be composted at home?

It is important to note that some items that can be composted on an industrial scale, don’t work well for home composting. There are companies such as Garbage to Garden that allow you to compost some things that don’t compost well in home composting systems.

Some examples of what you can compost at home include:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps (try to stay away from onions and citrus items as they take a while to decompose)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Yard waste (grass clippings, leaves etc.)

Some examples of what you should not try to compost at home include:

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Bones
  • “Compostable” bags
  • Pet waste

How you can compost at home:

If you have the space, time and need, it’s easy to get started on your composting efforts. Support a local business by purchasing a composting bin from your neighborhood garden center. You can also find composting bins online and at Home Depot or Lowes. Some cities and towns also offer composting bins at a reduced price!

If you don’t have the space, time or need you can still compost by signing up for a service that picks up your compost for you like Garbage to Garden or check and see if your city or town has compost drop off locations.

Tips for composting:

  1. Make composting fit into your lifestyle - A compost pile should be turned every three to four days so choose a composting bin that works for you. Do you prefer turning the compost by hand or would you rather give it a good few spins every few days and call it good?
  2. Know what you can and can’t compost - When considering composting at home be sure to read up on what can and cannot be composted, beware of items like bags that are “compostable”, typically products like these require industrial composting processes and aren’t meant for individual composting systems.
  3. Respect the process - Composting can take a while, don’t expect to start a composting pile in April and have soil that you can use for your garden in May. There are composting starter kits and worms that you can purchase to help speed up the process but usually it takes about a year for decomposition to fully happen.

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