Food waste could contaminate your recyclables, and ruin their chances of reaching their highest potential! But food waste has its own higher purpose…
Backyard composting at home is the process of recycling organic material into rich soil. It’s great for your garden, easy and fun!
Compost by color
1. Add greens!
Place your food scraps such as banana peels, orange peels, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells into a compost container or start a 4x4x4 foot pile in your yard.
- Keep any meat, fats, oils, or grease out of your compost.
- Meat should be put into a plastic bag then thrown into your bin to avoid attracting critters to your compost pile.
- Learn how to dispose of Fats, Oil and Grease here and keep them out of your bin and your compost pile to avoid attracting critters.
2. Add browns!
Mix the food scraps with from your yard trimmings such as twigs, leaves, and lawn clippings.
3. Add blue!
Next water your pile, keeping it damp but do not overwater – think about as damp as a sponge.
4. Add clear!
Finally, turn your pile once a week to make sure it gets the next ingredient – air!
5. Let it heat (orange)!
Continue to turn your pile each week and let it naturally reach a high temperature by breaking down the food scraps and green waste into a nutrient dense soil for your garden.
When your pile no longer gives off heat and becomes dry, brown and crumbly, it is ready to feed to your garden. Mix it in with your topsoil using about 30% composted soil and 70% regular soil for best garden growing results.
New food waste regulations coming in California
Changes are coming to the way California requires all waste management operators to handle the disposal of organic waste, which is any material that is biodegradable and comes from either a plant or an animal. This means we all need to make small changes to the way we dispose of food scraps. Since food is the single largest portion of our garbage, as food decomposes in landfills, it creates methane gas, which can take carbon dioxide out of the air, and trap heat in the atmosphere contributing to climate change.
Instead of throwing leftovers and food scraps in our trash and recycling bins, we need to designate a food waste station in our kitchens to keep all our organics separate from our regular bin. This will save energy, save resources by converting matter into compost, improve the quality of air and water by reducing pollution, improve soil quality, and send less waste to the landfill.
These regulations and changes to disposal methods are coming over the next few years. We can get a head start by making composting our food scraps a habit!
The UC Master Gardeners Program
Call the rotline: 530-889-7399
Visit the website: UC Master Gardener Program of Placer County