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How to Track How Much Food and Waste You’re Composting

Many people take up composting to reduce their environmental impact. Learn how you can take your composting efforts one step further by tracking your composting efforts using these easy tips!


Tools Needed:

  • A journal (To save paper, you could also use Microsoft Word or Google Docs)

  • Your compost bin

  • Patience

  • Optional: A kitchen scale

Inputs

To get started, we are going to create a system that tracks what you are putting into your compost bin and on what day. This will allow you to see what items take shorter or longer to decompose. Use your journal to create a simple table like the one below!

DATE

ITEM ADDED

WEIGHT

January 12, 2023

​Apple core, old cotton socks, q-tips

​5 oz

January 19, 2023

​Newspaper stack, food scraps, fingernail clippings

20 oz

As you add in items, simply date when you put them into the bin, write down what you added (be as vague or specific as you'd like) and the total weight (try to stay consistent if you are measuring in ounces, grams, pounds, etc.). Before you start tracking, you can also measure your bin's current total weight (keep in mind the compost bin or bucket itself also will be weighed. You can empty out your bin onto a towel or tarp to get an accurate measurement of the bin, but it is not necessary). Now, you are able to track what is going into your bin!

Outputs

Worm composting can be faster than alternative methods of composting, but that doesn't mean it happens overnight. We recommend "harvesting" your compost bin about once every three months, or four times a year, (click here for a how-to) to allow the beneficial bacteria, microbes, and worms to break down the materials without added stress of always being poked and prodded. After you've separated the worms from the compost (and added the worms back into the compost bin), simply weigh the end-use compost. Then, compare and contrast your input versus output. This is an excellent way to understand how matter can not be created nor destroyed - simply transformed! Nutrients from the organic materials have gone into growing the worms, creating new worms, and moisture has dispersed from the bin into the surrounding environment, meaning that your compost "output" is likely to be significantly less than the "input" - working like a magical trash black hole right in your own home.


Let’s Go Compost is a community-led effort to make compost bins free and accessible. We upcycle empty bulk ingredient bins into free, food-safe worm compost bins that are donated back to the community. Click here to get a free compost bin at our next monthly pick up event.

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