Friday, April 22, 2011

Surprising Things You Can Compost

Welcome to the world of creative composting. Chances are some of what ends up in your trash could actually be composted so here are three common items you may not know are compostable.

Dryer Lint
Not the belly button variety (he he). Dryer lint consists mainly of cotton fibers and a little pet fur, both of which compost just fine. Unless you exclusively wear polyester track suits (throat clearing sound), the small amount of synthetic fibers will not be noticeable in your finished compost.

Stale Crackers and Cookies
Cookies never make it to the “stale” stage in my house but crackers do on occasion. You can easily crumble these up and toss them in the compost bin. Your grateful bug pals will make them disappear faster than a box of girl scout cookies placed on my kitchen counter (well, almost).

Paper Plates and Napkins
Even if you try to avoid disposables, you’re bound to end up with a few paper plates leftover from parties or impromptu picnics. Unless the plates are greasy, you can just tear them up and toss them in the bin. Same goes for napkins and paper towels. They make a great source of carbon, especially in the summer when you’re running short on dried leaves.

Here are some other items you may consider adding to your composting repertoire:
• Cotton sewing threads
Old beer
• Old soup (non-creamy varieties)
Egg shells
• Dried herbs

Of course, there are many other unusual compostables I may not be thinking of. Do you add anything I haven’t mentioned to your compost bin?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Burn Calories Composting?

Well, its quickly approaching swimsuit season and everybody I know wants to lose weight (well, except for those few annoying skinnies who “try to put on weight and just can’t.” … I’ve gained 40 pounds in the last nine months (with good reason) but now I’m ready to shed those extra pounds and composting is going to help. Really.

Turning your compost bin adds oxygen to the decomposing matter which helps the aerobic bacteria (the good guys) speed up the decomposition process. The more you turn your bin, the faster you have finished compost. It just so happens that the turning action also burns calories- at a rate of 5 to 7.5 calories per minute!

You can use a special compost turner, a pitchfork, a shovel, even a stick to work air into the pile. And you can be doubly happy that you’re composting faster while making yourself healthier. Trim your waste while trimming your waist (ha,ha…see what I did there?).

I figure if I turn my pile for 10 minutes twice per week for the next three months, I’ll burn 1,800 calories. Every little bit helps, right? Now if I can just get my stationary bike to help me recycle….

Please don’t take the advice of a silly composter as medical advice- get a doctor’s opinion.

Labels: Composting Tips