Green for less: Compost happens

One of the best and easiest things you can do for the environment is keep a compost bin, either in your backyard or kitchen. Either method is easy and an eco-home trend that's slowly reaching the mainstream. Composting is not only great for the environment, for reducing the amount of methane and leachate organic waste gives off decomposing in a landfill, it also produces a rich fertilizer that can strengthen any garden. And, despite common belief, it doesn't smell (as long as you avoid putting in meat and other stuff that doesn't belong there).

So if you've got a green thumb or just love the outdoors, scrape your uneaten veggies and fruits off your plate and into your compost bin. Instead of throwing away uneaten food, coffee grounds, tea bags, nut shells, and dozens of other types of organic waste you make every day where it piles up in landfills, use that junk! As this waste decomposes in a landfill, it releases methane, which is highly flammable and is the reason why dumps have release valves--to release the pressure methane builds up or else it can cause an explosion. If you compost, you create a rich soil that can reduce the need for water, fertilizer, and pesticides. That's why more and more communities are launching compost programs and welcome taking your compost waste for public gardens.

Let's say you don't have room in your backyard, but you want to get started composting. All you do is get a medium to large-sized bin, (it can even fit underneath the sink), and throw in equal parts "browns"--twigs, dead leaves, branches--and "greens"--grass clippings, fruits, and vegetables. You can also throw in worms to eat up all your leftovers. (Yes, worms. Their manure is Scrooge McDuck gold to that earth-enriching stew). Once you have your "browns" and "greens" mixed together, let it settle for about five weeks then start throwing in your organic waste: eggshells, wool rags, hair, fur, fire place ashes, and grass clippings. Be careful, because not all organic waste can be composted, such as dairy products, meat, coal and charcoal. For more information on how to compost and what waste composts and what doesn't, check out the E.P.A.'s handy compost guide, which also has a neat breakdown on the science behind the process.

Free rich fertilizer and less waste and toxins in landfills? Compost should be as common as recycling plastic and paper. Hey Ikea, I smell a business opportunity: cute compost bins for the home and backyard.

And if you don't want to wait 6 to 8 weeks for your leftover scraps to turn into garden food, then get this composting robot by Nature Mill. It looks just like your standard kitchen trashcan and promises a no-fuss method to composting:

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