Composting and Dining Sustainability

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If you have a college student in the family, you may have heard of the concept of "dining sustainability." This concept has prompted campus dining halls all over the world to increase use of locally grown foods from sustainable organic agriculture practices. Some dining halls even use compostable plates, cups, and utensils that are made into organic fertilizer that is used either on campus or sold to benefit the college.

You don't have to go large-scale to increase dining sustainability in your own home and community. At-home composting with simple kitchen or outdoor composting bins can cut way down on your kitchen waste and generate valuable organic compost that gardens (and gardeners) love, benefiting landfills and gardens at the same time.

While many people may know about compost heaps in backyards, they may not know about advances in composting that make it more convenient, cleaner, and easier. The many compost bins for sale include compost tumblers, small plastic compost bins that go on kitchen countertops, and even chic looking ceramic composters that are convenient for small households and apartment dwellers.

Composting is actually very easy to do. In most cases it's simply a matter of scraping plates into the composter instead of into the trash. While you shouldn't compost meat, bones, and dairy products (because they often attract predators like raccoons to your yard), you can compost just about any other leftover food scraps, including crumbled egg shells. You can also compost non-food items like hamster cage bedding, dryer lint, and shredded up paper.

"Making" compost is basically a matter of supplying the ingredients to the composter, making sure that it is neither too wet nor too dry (it should be moist), and turning or stirring the contents on a regular basis to encourage the matter to break down evenly. Whether it's a small counter-top composter or one of the huge outdoor rotating compost bins, the process is the same: aerobic bacteria break down the organic matter to produce a rich, brown mulch that is full of nutrients plants love. And you can avoid chemical fertilizers altogether in some gardens.

There are various things you can do to "tweak" the composting process, such as using varying levels of green matter (like vegetable peelings) and brown matter (like crunched up dead leaves), but it's not really an exact science. Some people (primarily outdoor composters) introduce certain worm species to their compost mix to aid the process. While you want to keep bugs like roaches out of your compost, small bugs like wood lice are beneficial. Of course, if you're composting indoors, you probably want to keep insects and worms out altogether, and most home composters do a great job of keeping the pests out.

Even if you don't grow food, you can still participate in sustainability whether you use your compost on flower beds, indoor herb gardens or houseplants. And if you don't garden at all, there are plenty of home gardeners who would love to get some more good compost for their own gardens. So there's really no reason not to start composting. It may not be on the scale of a large college dining hall composting plan, but composting at home contributes to overall dining sustainability.

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Author: Jason Bacot
Jason Bacot - Are you looking to save some money and do away with all those nasty chemicals used for your home gardening? Then I suggest you check out our Compost Bins and Compost Tumblers for a natural fertilizer at "" as soon as possible.

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