Did you know that composting can transform your trash into new life? And that new life, in the form of microbes, fungi, earthworms, and more, provides the foundation for much of all other healthy life on Earth.
Composting is a great way to create healthy soil to support our people and our planet. Healthy soil is also a magical carbon sink that absorbs carbon from our atmosphere and helps cool the planet. While dead dirt has few living organisms, a teaspoon of healthy soil has more living organisms in it than the entire population of humans on Planet Earth!(1)
We need the world to compost!
Don’t think you can compost? We’ve got a whole set of resources on Everything To Know About Composting At Home, including more Bring Your Trash To Life interviews. All of this information about composting at home will hopefully prove that just about anyone can make space and find a system to turn their food scraps into nutrient-rich compost to enrich our soil, feed our food cycle, and limit the food waste that ends up in landfills.
This series highlights families in various circumstances who have all found a way that composting works for their lifestyle. Hopefully, you can be inspired to give it a go and help our planet stay a little healthier.
With an another edition of Bring Your Trash To Life, I’m introducing you to Katie, a mom, doctor, and local Philadelphian. After trying to compost on her own, she decided that a compost service fit her lifestyle best. I love that she gave it a second shot and found a way that worked for her (more proof that just about everyone can find a way to compost at home).
Take it a way Katie…
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, your family, etc.. the Katie 101?
My name is Katie, and I live in the Philadelphia suburbs with my husband and 3 boys: 10-year-old twins and a 7-year-old. We love to travel and spend our free time doing fun outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and skiing. My kids also love organized sports, so we are always running to basketball practice or to the baseball field for games. I am a physician and work full time practicing non-clinical medicine doing chart reviews from home.
Tell us a little bit about why you decided to start composting?
I started composting to reduce food waste. Having a family of five humans creates a lot of food scraps. My kids eat a lot of fruit. Orange peels and pineapple tops don’t go down the garbage disposal easily, so we had a lot of trash that we didn’t want to send to the landfill.
A friend of mine told me about a composting service that provides the bucket and picks up from your house every other week. They make it so incredibly easy!
How do you compost at home?
We currently have a composting bucket that we keep under the kitchen sink. We put food scraps, peels, coffee grounds, egg shells, and other compostable items in there.
Every other Friday morning, we walk the bucket out to our mailbox where the composing company picks it up and empties it into their truck. In the evening, we bring the bucket back inside our house, rinse it out, and put it under the sink.
If you had any methods that didn’t work for you, can you share what happened and why it wasn’t a good fit for you?
I had a composting tumbler bin and several years ago tried composting on my own. I didn’t remember to turn it often enough and never knew how to properly have the right mix of carbon and nitrogen components. I gave up after feeling too overwhelmed by the process.
How do you store the scraps until they are taken to your compost pile?
We put our scraps right in the bucket and put the lid back on. We keep our bucket under our kitchen sink and don’t notice much of a smell. The woman who runs the composting company suggested lining with a brown paper bag to limit smell and we recently started doing that.
Have you had any issues with animals or pests getting into your compost pile?
We only take our bucket out to the mailbox every other week and have the lid securely on so we have not had a problem with animals.
Do you have any special tools that help make composting easier for you?
Our composting company, Back to Earth, has made the process so incredibly easy. They provide the bucket to us, and keeping it under the kitchen sink helps everyone in the family remember to use it regularly.
Do you have any other supplies that you store until you need to add them to your compost pile?
We keep cardboard and brown bags in our garage to lessen clutter. Sometimes we put them out with the recycling then they start to pile up.
How does your family feel about composting?
Our kids have really been open to it. Since they are school-aged, we have them helping with simple household tasks (like loading and unloading the dishwasher, putting away laundry, etc). Cleaning up after themselves and putting orange and banana peels in the compost has now just become habit for them.
I also have my older two help carry the bin out and bring it back in once it is empty. My husband is on board also. Sometimes in the mornings, he is still sleepy and forgets to compost the coffee grounds but I’ve been (gently) reminding him!
Have you experienced any benefits from composting, especially ones that might have surprised you?
We have definitely reduced our number of trash bags we are filling. It’s been great to see the reduced waste.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your composting practices, especially to help beginners gain confidence that they too can compost?
Putting the bin in a high traffic area of the kitchen has been key to helping us remember. If you are intimidated by trying composting yourself, look into a service in your area that has pick up or drop off options. You may be surprised that they exist in your community.
Where else can we find you and learn more about what you’re up to?
Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok (yikes!) as @ecomamadoc and on Facebook at eco mama doc.