Keeping food and yard waste out of the trash through composting at home is easier than you might think. Take our quiz below to help you sort through your trash to find what makes a healthy compost heap.
Composting at home keeps food waste out of already overcrowded landfills. And yard waste decomposing in landfills can generate methane, a greenhouse gas.
Composting makes efficient use of these materials—and many paper products, wood chips, and even fireplace ashes—resulting in a product that can promote higher agricultural crop yields, reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers, and suppress plant diseases and pests.
You can start a compost pile with common materials such as bricks and buckets, plants that need mulch, and some kitchen scraps. Whether you compost indoors or outdoors, pile maintenance is minimal and requires regular mixing and turning, some water, and the right balance of nutrients from your household waste.
A residential composting pile works best for households to convert yard trimmings and food scraps and other household waste into compost to spread in garden beds, under shrubs, or for use as a potting soil for outdoor plants. For more information on how to set up your own composting at home, see the Environmental Protection Agency’s page on creating your own composting pile, or check out other resources on the web like HowToCompost.org, or your local gardening store.
If you don’t want to build your own compost pile, but still want to help, see the Environmental Protection Agency’s page on regional and state composting programs. Some states, including Minnesota, Indiana, and Wisconsin, have banned yard and tree wastes from landfills and are encouraging informational outreach to homeowners to reduce household waste.