The Environmental Protection Agency explains what compost is and why it’s important: “Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away, and could be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.” The idea of composting always intrigued me, but I assumed it was complicated and required a lot of equipment, and so I resisted giving it a try. Then, a few years ago, I attended a composting workshop put on by the City of Columbia and learned that it was much easier than I had worked it up to be. Using a simple bin and a little bit of know-how, I was suddenly able to reduce the amount of food waste I tossed in the trash — instead, I would throw my veggies scraps into a little box I kept on the counter (it was actually a re-purposed spinach container from the grocery store), and after I was finished cooking I would empty the box into the larger bin in my yard. Voila — reduced and repurposed food waste!
Now, there’s a little more that goes into composting, but I’m going to let the experts explain. The week of May 2-8 is International Compost Awareness Week, and in its honor, the City of Columbia is hosting a couple of composting workshops via Zoom. They are scheduled for Tuesday, May 4, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 8, 9:00-10:00 a.m. and you can register for them here. If you have a hankering to get outside, there will also be several workshops held at the Capen Park Compost Demo Site throughout the summer. You can find more details about all of these workshops on the City of Columbia’s Waste Reduction page.
The library has some great books on composting and how to use it, too! One of my favorites is “Compost” by Clare Foster because its simple explanations helped me to get a grasp on what I was doing. “Compost City” by Rebecca Louie is a great one if you don’t have a ton of space, because the author gives you all the tips and tricks for composting with minimal space, both inside and outside. If you’re really excited to dive deep into the world of composting, you might check out “The Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects” and learn to build your own bin. You can find even more books on composting and how to use it in your garden in this list in our catalog: International Compost Awareness Week book list.