Posted by Jeremy @ Arbor Teas on 22nd May 2015
At Arbor Teas, our packaging has been backyard compostable
since 2010. If you don’t yet have a compost pile, this post is for you! In this post,
we’ll walk you through the steps for starting a compost pile that will help you
reduce your environmental impact by
diverting your food waste and scraps away from the landfills by turning it into nutrient-rich soil.
What You Need to Get Started
Healthy compost piles require a lot of “brown” matter such as dried yard waste, and a small amount of green matter such as grass clippings and food scraps. The basic rule of thumb is 3:1 brown matter to green matter. So, to get started building a compost pile, it’s important to have a good, constant source of brown matter. Your backyard is a great place to look.
From there, you’ll need a place to build your compost pile, namely a compost “bin” constructed from wire, wood or brick, or an off-the-shelf compost bin or tumbler .
Of course, you’ll also need a bowl or kitchen croc for storing your food scraps. Look for one with a handle for easy maneuvering between kitchen and compost bin.
Building Your Compost Pile
There are as many ways to start a compost pile are there are bins to store it. To ensure success, you will want to make sure that your compost has a healthy combination of carbon-rich materials (brown matter) and nitrogen-rich materials (green matter). To give it a good start, you may also want to add a layer of two of good organic soil.
To start your compost pile, combine your materials in 4-inch layers of soil, brown matter and green matter, maintaining the ratio of 3:1 brown to green, up to 3-feet. You can let this combination sit and then turn it over with a shovel or hoe after 3-5 days.
“Turning” is important because it gives the pile much needed oxygen. But, even if you don’t turn your pile very often, your compost will still break down.
Tip: There are a few things you might not want to put into your compost pile, namely meat scraps (which may attract visitors), living weeds (which may take over your compost in the same way they would your garden), and diseased plants (which may taint the resulting soil).
Managing Your Compost Pile
If you’re at this step, you’re already composting. Doesn’t it feel great?!
The good news is that most compost piles don’t need a lot of attention. (The decomposition process happens whether you’re watching it or not!) The only thing your compost pile wants from you is a 3:1 ratio of brown matter to green matter, a little bit of water (rain is perfect), proper drainage, and a good turn every week or so.
So, as your carry your used tea and other food scraps out to your compost bin, make sure that you’re also adding at least twice as much "brown" yard waste to the mix to maintain a proper ratio.
Using Your Compost
One of the major benefits of starting a compost pile is what you get out of it: a healthy, free supply of soil to be used in your garden season after season. Once your compost is ready, and the materials have broken down, you can add this nutrient-rich soil to your flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.
Composting Our Packaging
Our packaging, made from a cellulose film derived from wood pulp and hemp-based labels, is 100% backyard compostable. To compost it, simply toss it into your compost bin and give it a turn. It will completely disappear within 3-4 months.
Word to the Wise: Not all “compostable packaging” is backyard compostable. Most corn-based compostable packing and disposables on the market today are really only suited for industrial compost settings. To dispose of them properly, contact your local government or waste facility to see if industrial composting is available in your area.
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