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Going Green - How To Compost

Jan 30, 2008
Have you ever noticed that the standard answer for anyone who wants to start living green is to replace all of your light bulbs?

"Oh, you want to help the environment, you better get all new light bulbs."
"Light bulbs are the way to go."
"Yes, I changed my light bulbs for the children."
"Did you watch that Al Gore concert?"
"Yeah, he said I need new light bulbs or the Earth will explode."

It's not like old light bulbs were nuclear powered or anything but it's still a great first step that's easy for people to accomplish no matter where they live. Whether it's out in the country on a farm or in a small studio apt in the city people have light bulbs.

But what can you do after that?

"I hear that the meat industry is a big producer of carbon dioxide, how about going vegetarian."
"Hmmm, I think I'll stick with my light bulbs."
"How about driving an electric car?"
"Gosh, that Previa is pretty ugly, how about putting new light bulbs in my SUV."

I'm really glad that more and more people want to add some green habits to their lives but it saddens me that composting isn't considered more often. It's not hard to do, in fact if you have a yard with trees and grass you're ready to start composting.

Just pile up your lawn clippings in a corner somewhere. Then during the fall, instead of raking up leaves to be left at the curb, add them to your pile. There you go, you're composting. If you don't like the looks of this mound, then you can buy a fancy compost bin or even make one yourself. A simple piece of wire fencing in the shape of a circle is perfect for composting leaves and grass. Okay, you're done. Who says that it's too hard to go green?

I'm not proposing that we replace our coffee tables with vermicomposting bins and raise worms in our living rooms. No, that's a bit extreme even for someone who runs a blog about compost, yuck! Just save some leaves and grass and you're off to a great start.

If you don't have the time or energy to mix the pile every month or so, it'll still turn to compost all by itself. Compost doesn't need your help. Who do you think mixes the leaves in a forest? Just wait about a year or two and you'll get your compost without doing anything. And if you keep the ratio of leaves to grass at about 30:1 and water it every once in a while and it'll compost even quicker.

So how will this help? Compost is a natural fertilizer that can be added to plants or spread out over your lawn. Those chemical fertilizers that everyone uses wind up washing down the storms drains and then they cause algae blooms in our lakes and ponds. Plus think about all the energy it takes to produce those chemical fertilizers. If you stop buying it, they'll stop making it.

By composting you're also reducing the amount of garbage you produce and keeping this yard waste out of the landfill . If your town or city doesn't have a composting program then all of your leaves are just going to the dump. They won't decompose there.

Compost can also help your soil retain more moisture so you can cut down on watering. And last time I checked, saving water was a good thing too.

But the best part about compost is that it's free.

With all of these benefits, it's a wonder why everyone doesn't start composting. Great for the soil, conserves water, stops fertilizer run off. And it isn't hard to do. Just pile up your leaves and grass clipping in a corner or your yard and wait. Now who can't do that? Why it's as easy as changing a light bulb.
About the Author
Anthony Tripp is a big fan of using compost in his garden. You can read more of his composting and gardening adventures at his blog, http://compostbin.blogspot.com
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