Throwing Away Our Future

Why composting secures our aina for future generations

Community Contributed By Jill Ross

“If you’re not building soil, you’re not sustainable,” said Geoff Lawton, founder of the Permaculture Research Institute (PRI).

Building healthy soil takes less effort then a trip to the dump, literally. Your used coffee grounds, paper/yard waste and food scraps are soil waiting to happen. By stuffing them into a plastic bag and driving them to the dump you’re interfering with the natural decomposition process, adding to our island’s looming rubbish pile, and wasting gas.

Every household, school and business could use more healthy soil. You don’t need a green thumb to properly apply compost. Each tree and plant in your yard will benefit from simply scattering your finished compost on the ground around them. Feeding our aina rather than our dump creates a sustainable future for generations to come, and it’s a really easy. There are many methods for composting. My family uses the static or passive method.

Start by gathering your kitchen waste every time you prepare food. We use a plastic Folgers’ canister with a lid. My family of four fills and dumps our canister daily (actually the kids do). Larger families can use five-gallon buckets or any container with a lid.

Collect all the paper and cardboard waste your household accumulates and set it aside or add it directly to your kitchen scraps, this will add carbon to the compost, helping things to break down.
Find a place in your yard to create a compost pile. No need for fancy composting bins – placing your pile directly onto the ground allows worms and insects access to the pile. Dump your kitchen waste, and cover with your paper and yard waste.  Composting paperwork with you personal information on it eliminates the need for shredding. If you keep chickens or rabbits, adding their manure to your compost will speed up the process (any non-carnivorous manure will do). Keep adding to the same pile. Water your compost pile to keep it moist. No need to turn the pile, dig into it and you’ll find the bottom is converted into dark, worm-filled soil.

In as little as a month, you’ll have a pile of rich, healthy soil to put in your garden or on your trees/plants. If that sounds like too much work, then simply plant seeds into your pile once your compost is ready. You may also unknowingly create a garden: our compost is currently supporting a huge tomato plant that sprouted independently from an unfinished salad.

By composting all of our kitchen scraps and paper/yard waste, my household has reduced our non-recyclable garbage to three grocery-sized bags a month.  Our garbage doesn’t stink or leak. We’re building soil, not landfills.  Waste materials are resources. We can drive them to the dump and throw away a sustainable future for our children, or we can manage our waste at home and create soil that will sustain life for generations to come. The choice is yours.


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