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Oct 17, 2007
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Think About
Location: United States

Bring on the Rot and Worms! Home Composting

As we note in the Green Life Guide, "Composting is the process of decomposing organic (plant and/or animal) materials to make nutrient-rich compost." Essentially, composting is nature's way of recycling organic material so that it can be used as food for other organisms. You can replicate this process at home, and use the compost as a nutritional supplement for indoor and outdoor plants - essentially, a natural fertilizer. This allows you to keep these materials out of your waste stream, and, consequently, our overtaxed landfills.

Home composters have two methods available to them: traditional outdoor composting, which involves collecting organic materials outdoors in a manner that creates favorable conditions for the natural process to occur, and vermicomposting, or using red worms to break these materials down (and can be done indoors or out). We explain both processes in our Green Life Guide entry, and MasterComposter.com has step-by-step instructions available. Your choice of one or both methods depends primarily on your living situation: if you live close to your neighbors, or in an apartment, you'll definitely want to use vermicomposting for kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels and egg shells. Rural residents can throw everything into the outdoor pile - you'll probably want it a little ways from your house, though, as it can smell (especially if not maintained)!

Your Action for Today:
Plan a Home Composting System

It's very easy to get started composting:

  1. Choose the composting method(s) you plan to use, based on your living situation.
  2. Decide where and how you'll collect compostable materials. For kitchen scraps, you may want to keep a container like an empty coffee can on hand for quick collection. Lawn and garden materials can likely go directly into your pile or bin.
  3. For vermicomposting or quicker outdoor composting, you'll need a specialized bin. You can makeown, or buy one. your
  4. Start putting compostable materials in the pile or bin. Remember: piles and bins both need relatively regular attention to maintain the optimal composting conditions. You can't compost meats, fats or dairy products without a specialized system.
  5. Something not working right? Visit MasterComposter.com's discussion boards. You can also leave a question in the Green Options discussion forums.
  6. When the compost is ready (which depends on the methods you use), add it to soil in your garden, flower beds, house plants, lawn... anywhere you're growing something.

Record the method you use, and the steps you take to implement it, in your Green Journal.

Tomorrow: Are there vampires in your house?

Sincerely,

Green Options

The GO Team
GreenOptions.com

Visibility: Everyone
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Posted: Oct 17, 2007 8:49am
Oct 6, 2007
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Various
Location: United States

Rev Up Your Recycling Efforts!

Last week, you did some investigating to find out what kind of recycling services are available in your area. In order to take advantage of those services, though, you need to create a system at home for separating your recyclables out from trash (of which you'll have less), and then separating recyclable materials from one another - preferably in a manner that makes it easy to properly dispose of these items.

Your Action for Today:
Create a Recycling System

Creating a recycling system is easy, and can be as low-cost as you'd like. Whatever you choose, make sure that you create a system that you know you'll use on a daily basis. You'll need to:

  1. Choose a place to store recyclables before disposal. This can be indoors or out, as long as it's convenient for you. If you'll be taking your recyclables to a collection center or location yourself, you may want to designate two locations: one for immediate storage of separated items, and another, larger space for storage until you take them away.
  2. Choose what materials you plan to recycle. Depending on the service you plan to use, and whether it picks up your materials at your home, you may be limited on the materials you can recycle. Services in urban and suburban areas will generally take aluminum, plastic (although often only certain kinds of plastic), glass, and paper. If you have to take materials in yourself, you may want to choose a couple of different materials to start, especially if you have to take them to separate facilities. Keep in mind that you may want to put some materials aside (worn-out electronics, for example) for special trips or collection efforts.
  3. Choose receptacles for your separated materials. You'll want to have one receptacle for each type of material you plan to recycle. Oftentimes, curbside pick-up services will provide you with receptacles. If not, paper grocery bags or cardboard boxes (which can be recycled), trash cans, or plastic crates can work for economical solutions. If you choose, you can also buy receptacles for recycling, ranging from simple to very elaborate.
  4. Choose a disposal schedule. With a curbside service, you'll know what day you need to have your receptacles out for pick-up. If you're transporting your materials yourself, make this a regularly-scheduled event. You'll feel better about your efforts if your recyclables aren't piling up in the garage, basement or kitchen!
  5. Choose to make it happen! Act on your system plan in the next two days, whether that means actually setting it up, or ordering receptacles you just can't live without.

Record your thoughts and plans in your Green Journal and update the entry (or write a new one) when your system is in place.

Tomorrow: Take action to save energy.

Sincerely,

Green Options

The GO Team
GreenOptions.com

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted: Oct 6, 2007 11:12am

 

 
 
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