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Beyond the Bin: What is composting? WOODTV 8

May 1, 2024

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Did you know that you are asked to not throw away your old fruit and vegetable scraps or egg shells or coffee grounds? You’re actually encouraged to use them in composting.

But what is composting?

“It’s nature’s way of recycling or breaking down food waste, your yard waste again, anything that comes from a plant or an animal down into nutrient-rich soil,” Katelyn Kikstra, a waste educator for the Kent County Department of Public Works, said. Beyond the Bin: What actually belongs in your recycling bins

And there are multiple ways residents can get started. You can place a composting bucket with start-up soil in your backyard or a small container under your sink. There are also composting services that will add your scraps to its compost to make healthy soil for use later. Farms in your area may also take your composting materials to help their soil stay healthy.

“There’s a lot of different options. In fact, compost has so many broad options out there that people can start as small or as simple as a vermiculture or vermicompost underneath their sink to as big as getting it to an industrial composter, where it gets applied to a farmer’s field,” Micah Herrboldt, a waster reduction educator with the county, said.

The agency recommends going the vermicompost route, which means adding worms to soil. They will help break down organic materials and make the soil much more beneficial on a micro level.

On top of just benefiting the earth through the soil, the act of composting has other major benefits that can be seen in real time.

“When you make those small shifts, you can see the trash gets smaller and the recycling the compost get larger and know that it’s going to be contributing to more of a sustainable system rather than just a hole in the ground,” Herrboldt said. Beyond the Bin: What to do with your old batteries, technology

The department of public works understands that it may be daunting to ask residents to take another step in reducing their waste by having them separate items again. But it hopes people understand that the benefits outweigh the use of time and they start building better habits.

“Even if it’s just composting, ‘I’m going to compost my coffee grounds and banana peels,’ and that’s what you’re going to focus on. And then you start adding more and more. Those habits build over time and all of a sudden you start making huge impacts when it comes to the amount of trash that you’re sending,” Kikstra said.

If you want to get started composting, you can find more helpful materials courtesy of DPW on its new, revamped website which can be found here.

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