10 Reasons To Start Kitchen Scrap Composting

10 Reasons To Start Kitchen Scrap Composting

Skip the trash and purposefully re-home your food scraps where they were made for–the dirt! Here are 10 reasons to start kitchen scrap composting underground!

Every day, home cooks like you and I produce scraps from our kitchen.

The last few bites of a meal we didn’t finish get pushed to the rim of our plate or linger far too long in Tupperware containers in our fridge. Or, better yet,  wafts unpleasant aromas while sitting in the kitchen trash after a day or two. 

Ah yes, the most obvious place to look when you smell something funky in the kitchen is always the garbage. The second spot is the fridge. Regardless if it’s spot one or two, it’s almost always because something has started to rot. 

Is food waste really a problem? 

According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, in American households, food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills, where it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that’s been linked to reducing the amount of oxygen breathed from the air,  lower crop yields, and warming of the environment!  

Yikes.

Those kitchen scraps don’t seem so innocent anymore, right?

But what can you do with kitchen waste? 

The good news is that limiting the amount of food scraps you send to landfills can be easily done, measured, and immediately reduce greenhouse emissions. And, addressing this problem has multiple solutions. Most of them require low (or no) cost and only impose minor adjustments to your daily routine.  

Whew! 

Simply put, just skip the trash can.

From now on, skip the trash can and bury your fruit and vegetable scraps right out back (or in your raised beds). Yup, that’s it. Instead of fighting against the indoor smelly smells that the natural process of decay creates in unnatural plastic alongside meat and diapers, purposefully re-home your scraps in the environment they were made for–the dirt. 

In turn, you’ve taken action towards being eco-friendly in your everyday life. After all, sustainability starts at home. But, fair warning, kitchen scrap composting can be mildly addictive once you realize that materials you’d normally throw out can turn in a powerhouse of nutrition for your garden. Before you know it, you may find yourself keeping worms and feeding them your kitchen scraps too so you can get worm castings. Or, at least that’s how I ended up becoming a worm farmer!

(Pssst: Want to watch how EASY it is to start a backyard kitchen scrap composting routine? Let me show you in this video.)

If you’re still wondering if buying your kitchen scraps is worth your time or if it measurably improves your soil, let me assure you the answer is ‘yes’ and ‘yes’! But I’ve got a list of reasons you probably haven’t thought about that might also convince you.

Here are 10 Reasons to Start Burying Your Kitchen Scraps  

  1. Cuts out the middleman.  If you’ve tried (or thought about) traditional bin compost systems, you may have been intimidated by their price tag, maintenance, or storage needs. All of these logistics are eliminated when you bury your kitchen scraps because they’ll literally go directly from your plate to under your soil without products or processes creating unnecessary steps. That’s a win for your wallet and your roses. 
  2. Suppresses plant disease and pests. Soil is a living thing that requires air, water, and the right type of nutrients to stay alive and healthy (sound familiar?). The nutrients provided by the breakdown of your kitchen scraps interact with the soil to produce fungi that balance out the soil ecosystem to create an idyllic environment for beneficial nematodes (the ones that compete with or destroy diseases and pests) to thrive. 
  3. To heck with diamonds or Jack’s magic beans, your kitchen scraps will give you “black gold”. What’s black gold you ask? It’s a phrase gardeners use to describe “premium” soil that’s rich with organic compost, worm castings, and nutrients with a soil structure that has the perfect texture plants thrive in. And oh, it’s a captivating midnight black color.  Unless you live on a farm sanctuary, this quality topsoil can only be cultivated over time.  
  4.  Save some serious dinero. Fertilizers and soil amendments are expensive. You know it’s true! Kitchen scrap composting will save you the most money because it’s completely free. Used coffee grounds improve soil drainage, eggshells supply calcium, and apple cores slowly release nitrogen. The list of the nutrients and benefits of what your scraps provide goes on and on (and, is provided at the end of this post). 
  5.  Go Organic on a Budget. Fact: you will pay more for store-bought organic fertilizers. While the inorganic stuff is cheaper in the short term, it doesn’t improve the soil after the plants have absorbed the nutrients they need as organic materials do. Since soil is the foundation for a stunning garden, it’s always “worth it” to use organic materials, versus man-made synthetic fertilizers which are usually derived from by-products of the petroleum industry. Yikes. Those kitchen scraps keep your money in your wallet and your garden chemical-free. 
  6. Helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.  Kitchen scraps incorporated into the soil will eventually break down. Kitchen in a landfill don’t because they have inadequate access to oxygen and microbes needed to kickstart decay. Instead, they release toxins like methane and nitrous oxide which reduce air quality, crop production, and a host of other problems. 
  7. Saves time. Yes, it’s true. When I tell you that it’s as easy as burying your scraps a minimum of 4 inches in the ground, replacing the soil, and waiting 5-7 weeks to plant in that area, that’s it! 
  8. Teaches your kids, family, and friends about waste. Go ahead, talk trash (hey-you know what I mean). Honestly, it’s something we all should be comfortable doing, but we don’t.  The amount of world-wide landfill food waste is damaging our air, water, and environment. We’re all part of the solution to this problem that only requires changing how (and where) we dispose of food. 
  9. Creates a sustainable garden routine. Get in the routine of keeping a compost bucket on your table or in your fridge and out of the habit of adding to plastic bag waste.
  10. Stop the stink. The majority of kitchen smells come from spoiled food sitting in your trash can. Instead, try storing your scraps in plastic bags in your refrigerator to bury every few days. Alternatively, you’re storing up scraps to start composing during warmer weather, you can freeze your scraps in a plastic bag. See, no odors! Even better, when you finally add your frozen scraps to the ground, you don’t even have to worry about defrosting because as the scraps unthaw it hydrates the soil! 

And there you have it, 10 reasons to start kitchen scrap composting.

But some of y’all might be thinking, “I get it, but, isn’t this a little weird? I’ll be the only one in my neighborhood doing this.

Not true, sis. Luckily, you’re not alone is seeing the value of your kitchen scraps.

Increasingly, grocery stores, colleges, recycling, and trash companies are offering curbside or drop-off composting programs. Check out your residential waste office to see what options are available in your area. 

Ready to start collecting your kitchen scraps at  your next meal? Scan the list below to check out items you can and can’t compost!  For your convenience, I have included the list of composting materials from the Environmental Protection Agency which details everything you should (and shouldn’t) compost.

Here’s a list of items you CAN compost:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Nut shells
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Yard trimmings
  • Grass clippings
  • Houseplants
  • Hay and straw
  • Leaves
  • Sawdust
  • Wood chips
  • Cotton and Wool Rags
  • Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
  • Hair and fur
  • Fireplace ashes

Here’s what you should NOT compost:

  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
    – Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
  • Coal or charcoal ash
    – Might contain substances harmful to plants
  • Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs*
    – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants
    – Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils*
    – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Meat or fish bones and scraps*
    – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)*
    – Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
    – Might kill beneficial composting organisms
    * Check with your local composting or recycling coordinator to see if these organics are accepted by your community curbside or drop-off composting program.



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