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Composting at home is easy – with a little know-how, keeping your compost pile efficient can be a cake-walk.

Healthy compost piles are moist, warm and free of bad odors and proper maintenance will quickly become second nature. These basic principles will help you turn your food scraps and other materials like paper towels and newspaper, into a healthy compost pile.

Compost bins or piles can be set up in many ways. For the home composter, many options are available, from homemade bins (lots of DIY content online about this!) to rotating or other types of plastic bins to purchase. Choose the type and size that works best for you and your family.

What to Compost and the Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio

Scraps to compost fall into two basic categories: carbon-rich “browns” and nitrogen-rich “greens.” You need more carbon in your mix than you need nitrogen, with an optimum carbon/nitrogen ratio of about 30:1. If there is too much carbon (browns), decomposition will slow down. If there is too much nitrogen (greens), your pile may end up a little smelly. 

BROWNS (CARBON-RICH)

        • Dried leaves
        • Sawdust and woodchips 
        • Shredded black and white newspaper
        • Egg cartons
        • Cardboard
        • Dead, dried-out plants
        • Tree bark
        • Straw
        • Peanut shells

GREENS (NITROGEN-RICH)

        • Fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps
        • Coffee grounds and tea bags
        • Green garden cuttings
        • Fresh leaves and flowers
        • Grass clippings

The carbon/nitrogen ratio balancing act can be as simple or complicated as you like. The easiest approach is to stick to the basic 2:1 (two parts green to one part brown) recipe.

We think composting is really useful and everyone should do it! There are several benefits of composting — it keeps organic material out of landfill where it would produce methane gas, a major contributor to global warming!


Let us know what you think in the comments below and if you have any tips to share with our readers that may help or inspire them to start composting and help save the planet!