Top Ten Reasons to Compost at Home (+tips!)

10. It’s easy, and fascinating!
A perpetual science project for the curious kids and adults in your house! Your banana peels, strawberry tops, those greens you kept meaning to eat will all disappear in a flash, leaving you with the oft-named black gold that farmers and gardeners love!

9. Composting can help beautify your city, for free!
Composting takes your food waste and turns it into nutrient-rich soil, that in turn can be used to green and beautify some of the empty, concrete laden spaces in our city.

8. Composting takes your food waste out of our landfills.
In NYC, we don’t pay per bag of trash. But there is a cost, and it’s piling up in our landfills, releasing greenhouse gases into the air, and seeping into our waterways.

7. It doesn’t smell, but it does deliver (+tip!)
Keeping a layer of browns (strips of newspaper or paper bags work great here) on top of your compost pile keeps odors IN, while also supplying the necessary carbon to break down the food.

6. It’s a low maintenance, high reward system.
Set up includes calling the Lower East Side Ecology Center to order your worms (we recommend ½ pound to start), and pick up at the Union Square Farmers Market (or, if you’ve got a friend with a super healthy worm bin, just call her!). Drill holes in the top of a 10-gallon tupperware, add greens (food scraps), browns (carbon-based materials ie. paper goods) and a little compost if you want to make your worms feel really at home. Oh, and don’t forget to add your worms! Close up shop and after that, check in every 3 days or so. If there’s food, close ’em back up. If they’ve eaten most of what you gave them, give them some more.

5. A bit of common sense yield a lot of compost (+tip!)
A few simple tricks will help keep your worms and your plants happy:

  • When you feed your worms, bury the food scraps in one corner. This way when you check your bin, it’s easy to tell if/when to add food.
  • Keep in mind how long each food item takes to break down. Worms eat decaying matter. Thicker scraps (avocado peels, artichoke leaves) will eventually break down, but it won’t provide your worms with an immediate food source. Greens, strawberry tops, banana peels — these will all break down quickly. So if you put some slower-decomposing material in, make sure to compliment it with something the worms can eat right away.
  • Consider where worms like to live — in the dark and damp of underground. If your bin looks dry, add food (or a sprinkling of water). If your bin is dripping with moisture, add browns to soak it up. You want damp, like a wet sponge after it’s been wrung out.

4. You can feed compost to plants.
Adding compost when transplanting helps give plants an extra boost during that traumatic time period. Adding compost to the base of existing plants adds necessary nutrients into the soil.

3. Your at-home compost bin is one small step toward a more sustainable food system.
Our dominant food system is long and complicated, full of pollution and frivolous waste. Your at-home compost bin is part of a cycle of sustainability (soil -> seed -> plant -> consumer -> compost -> soil…) that may one day change the world!

2. Worms are, well…fun!
We said it. You might have kids and you might not. It doesn’t matter…worms are fun for everyone!

1. The number one reason to compost at home is because you can!

Want some at-home practice? Check out this great digital resource and interactive activity from Keep America Beautiful that helps to explain the roles that soil microbes, oxygen, and moisture play in this process. Get started and maintain your own virtual compost pile now!