Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude and celebration, bringing families and friends together to enjoy a delicious feast. However, it's also a time when excess food scraps and leftovers can pile up, leading to unnecessary waste. Learn about the importance of composting during Thanksgiving with these tips and tricks that will help you make the most out of your composting efforts.
Why Compost at Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving dinners often involve an abundance of food, including vegetable peels, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and more. Instead of throwing all of this organic waste into the trash, composting offers an eco-friendly solution. By composting your Thanksgiving leftovers, you can:
Reduce landfill waste: Organic materials in landfills produce harmful methane gas, contributing to climate change. Composting diverts waste from landfills and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Create nutrient-rich soil: Compost acts as a natural fertilizer, enriching your garden or potted plants with essential nutrients. It improves soil structure, moisture retention, and promotes healthy plant growth.
Close the nutrient loop: Composting completes the cycle of nature by returning nutrients back to the earth. It allows organic matter to decompose naturally and reintegrates it into the ecosystem.
Tips for Successful Thanksgiving Composting
1. Plan Ahead
Before you start cooking for Thanksgiving, consider the following tips:
Menu planning: Plan your Thanksgiving menu carefully to avoid excess food waste. Prepare only what you need and consider portion sizes to minimize leftovers.
Compost-friendly ingredients: Opt for fresh, locally sourced and in-season ingredients whenever possible. Choose fruits, vegetables, and grains that are organic and free from synthetic pesticides.
2. Set Up a Composting System
Having a well-organized composting system will make it easier to collect and manage your Thanksgiving food waste. Here's what you can do:
Compost bin: Invest in a compost bin or build one yourself. Ensure it is large enough to accommodate the extra waste generated during the holiday season.
Location: Find a suitable spot in your backyard or garden for your compost bin. It should be easily accessible yet away from direct sunlight to maintain proper moisture levels.
3. Sort and Collect
To ensure a successful composting process, sort and collect the following materials:
Fruit and vegetable scraps: Collect peels, cores, and any other leftover parts from your fruits and vegetables. Avoid citrus peels, as they may be acidic and slow down the composting process. Tip: Use your extra vegetable scraps and meat scraps or bones to make broths, giving them one extra life before composting them.
Coffee grounds and filters: Save your coffee grounds and filters from your Thanksgiving coffee indulgence. They are rich in nitrogen and a valuable addition to your compost pile.
Eggshells: Rinse and crush eggshells before adding them to your compost. They provide essential minerals like calcium to the compost.
4. Chopping and Layering
Properly chopping and layering your compost materials will help accelerate decomposition. Follow these guidelines:
Chop or shred: Cut or shred larger food scraps into smaller pieces. This increases the surface area, allowing microbes to break them down faster.
Layering: Alternate between green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. Green materials include food scraps, while brown materials include dried leaves, straw, or wood chips.
5. Proper Maintenance
Maintaining your compost pile ensures optimal conditions for decomposition. Consider the following:
Moisture: Keep your compost moist, like a damp sponge. Regularly check the moisture level and add water if it becomes too dry.
Turning: Turn your compost pile every few weeks using a pitchfork or a compost turning tool. This aerates the pile, helping it decompose faster.
This Thanksgiving, embrace sustainable practices by composting your food waste. By following these tips and tricks, you can minimize waste, create nutrient-rich soil, and contribute to a healthier environment. Remember, composting is not only beneficial for your garden but also for our planet. So, let's give thanks and compost responsibly this holiday season!
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 pick up event.