Composting is a great way to go green – but it’s easy for this planet-saving process to start to get a little messy. Ready to start composting, while keeping your whole home clean and odor-free? We’re here to help!
The Benefits of Composting
Composting is a great way to produce homemade food for your indoor and outdoor gardens. In a nutshell, composting involves collecting organic material that would otherwise be disposed of – such as yard waste and kitchen scraps – and breaking them down into a nutrient-dense material that can be added to soil to help your favorite plants grow bigger and stronger.
Composting a wonderful, nourishing project to pick up anytime – and it’s especially useful right now, as we all spend more time at home cooking, baking, and gardening to ride out COVID-19.
There are lots of ways to start composting, from designing your own compost containers, to signing up with a local organization. Once you start composting, you’ll be surprised by just how many items around your home you can compost. From banana peels, to carrot tops, to potato skins, to egg shells, to old houseplants, to pet hair, so much “trash” that we would normally throw away can easily become a source of nutrients for the plants and food we grow.
In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), compostable materials currently make up more than 28 percent of what we all throw away each day!
When we don’t compost, these types of materials end up taking up space in landfills, where they release harmful methane into the atmosphere. Composting is a powerful way to cut back on emission and actually remove carbon from the atmosphere – while enriching your garden and helping growing healthier plants without the need for chemical fertilizers.
How to Get Started With Composting
The three main elements of composting are browns, greens, and water. Browns are lawn and yard materials, such as dead leaves and branches, which provide carbon. Greens are fresh materials such as grass clippings, vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds, which provide nitrogen to the mixture. Compost involves collecting both browns and greens and mixing them with water, which helps break down the organic matter over time.
You can create an outdoor compost bin in a dry, shady spot. To compost indoors, be sure to buy or DIY a specialized composting container. Wear gloves whenever you dig into your compost bin, and be sure to keep track of what you’re adding to keep your mixture healthy and balanced.
How to Clean Some Common Composting Messes
Composting is an incredibly noble act, and an easy way to help give back to the planet that gives us life. With that said, it can also get messy and a bit stinky, especially in the early days. Here’s how to stay on top of some common composting mishaps:
Regularly Wash Your Compost Pails and Bins
In order to collect and transfer kitchen scraps to an indoor or outdoor composting pile, most people use a composting pail. This can be as simple as a bowl or tupperware, or as fancy as a dishwasher-safe container specially made for food scraps. You may also collect compost in a bin that you regularly empty. Be sure to regularly clean your pail or bin with water and natural cleaning solutions that can help cut down on odors and germs, such as vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice.
Clean Your Gardening Tools and Implements
If you use a shovel or pitchfork to scoop your fresh scraps or turn over your compost, be sure to regularly wash these tools so they don’t get grimy and stinky. If you wear gardening gloves or an apron, similarly be sure to wash these protective garments by running them through your washing machine, following all directions on the tags or packaging.
Clean Up Any Spills ASAP
Accidentally tipped over your compost bin? Dropped an apple core on the kitchen floor? Organic waste can start to stink and attract flies and other insects quickly, so be sure to address any messes or stains as soon as they happen. On most hard surfaces, you should be able to clean the area with some dish soap, water, and a clean cloth, then follow up with a disinfectant spray or wipe.
Take Steps to Prevent Nasty Odors
If your compost bin is starting to stink, it could be time to give it a turn or even out the balance of greens and browns. For some ideas on what to do for serious odors, check out this great guide from Hobby Farms.
Dealing with smaller, day-to-day odors from collecting scraps and storing compost? Here are a few ideas to try:
- Keep your compost pail in the freezer
- Line your bins and pails with newspaper, which can help absorb odors
- Regularly sprinkle your compost storage and tools with baking soda to prevent images
- Create all-natural air fresheners for your kitchen or garage, using your favorite essential oils
Ready to Make This Your Greenest Year Yet?
Here at Sweeping Dimensions, one of our primary goals is to make cleaning less stressful for our clients — and more healthy and sustainable for our environment.
We also believe in passing along our green cleaning knowledge, whenever we can. We love to talk all things cleaning and organizing, including the strategies that can make taking care of your home a greener and more enjoyable practice. The more people we can bring together in our mission for a healthier world, the better off planet will be!
So, if you ever have a question about comparing cleaning products, starting a new recycling practice, or making a green switch in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re always happy to talk shop and try to make a difference, however we can.
At SDCS, we’re sincerely passionate about these issues, dedicated to finding real solutions, and always eager to keep the conversation going.
Curious about what steps you can take to have a positive impact on the environment, even during the coronavirus quarantine? Want to set up a green cleaning for your Chicago home? Don’t hesitate to reach out for your free service estimate, or connect with us on social media to continue the discussion.