Compost Chronicles | Family Affair

Ready to compost at home but not sure how to get started? Cindy’s simple method ensures that even guests in her home can easily compost. As a bonus, she gets to see her grandkids when she drops off her bin!

The Compost Chronicles series highlights families in various circumstances who have all found a way to compost at home that works for their lifestyle. Hopefully, you can be inspired to give it a go and help our planet become a little healthier.

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 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!

We need everyone to learn how to compost at home and make it a part of everyday life.

Don’t think you can compost? We’ve got a whole set of resources on Everything To Know About How To Compost At Home, including more Compost Chronicles interviews. All of this information about how to compost 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.

Meet Cindy.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, your family, etc…? 

I live with my husband in Malvern, Pennsylvania.  We are empty nesters and love to hike, bike, travel, read and eat.  I have grown married sons and two grandchildren

Tell us a little bit about why you decided to start composting. 

We have always recycled and tried to be environmentally aware.  I was already separating my trash and so it was not a huge deal to also separate out compostable items from the trash while cooking or gardening. I want to do my part to make my part of the world a better place to the extent I can.

What method or methods of composting do you use or have you used?

I separate my compostable items into a recyclable container on my counter when I cook and then I take those food scraps out to a 5-gallon bucket in my garage.  Once that bucket is full, I drive it to my son and daughter-in-law’s home where they have several different composting systems.  I feel like I am feeding their garden with my coffee grinds and vegetable scraps. It was totally surprising to me that there is no odor given what I know is decomposing in there.  I’m especially surprised in the summer when the garage is hot, and still no odor.

Have you had any issues with animals or pests getting into your compost bin?

No issues since my garage is closed most of the time and the lid is on the bucket.

How does your family feel about composting?

My family is supportive.  But as I said, it’s only 2 of us.  We have been doing this for a few years now, so I would say this has become a habit for us.  We cook together and keep a small container on the counter as we food prep.  Then we dump it into a bucket in the garage.  We even train house guests to comply.

Have you experienced any benefits from composting, especially ones that might have surprised you? 

I feel good about doing this.  I didn’t expect to feel anything at all.  I truly believe that if we all made some small changes to our normal routines we can leave the world in a better place.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your composting practices, especially to help beginners gain confidence that they too can compost?

I would suggest starting small and you would be surprised by how it becomes an easy part of your everyday habits.

Jen Panaro

Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and advocate for sustainable living for modern families. To find her latest work, subscribe to her newsletter, Stepping Stones.

In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.

You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.

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