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 You Can Make Dirt 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.
There are so many ways to compost and today, Alysia is sharing how her family composts with a dual-tumbler bin. I love that the tumbler takes very little work and the tumbler does most of the work. It can also be a great option for those concerned about animals sneaking into their compost piles or open bins. Let’s hear more for Alysia about how her family is helping the planet by keeping their food scraps out of landfills.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, your family, etc.. the Alysia 101?
I live in Dallas, Texas, with my husband and two daughters. They are almost 4 and 1, so we have our hands full! I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Even though I now work at a media agency, I leverage data to make strategic marketing decisions for my clients. In my free time, you’ll find me writing, walking, or riding on the Peloton!
Tell us a little bit about why you decided to start composting?
I have always been environmentally conscious. With my science background, I like to understand the facts and details about how we, as consumers, have an impact on climate change.
I originally started composting as part of the ‘low waste’ movement. This became a gateway to more fully understanding the research around how consumers can fight climate change reducing waste and using less plastic.
We waste so much food in the US each year (40% of all the food in the US is thrown away), and this is a significant contributor to the generation of greenhouse gases (8% globally). So I’ve made it a mission to spread the composting word!
Composting—and better yet, reducing any kind of food waste—is an incredible way for consumers to help do their part.
What method of composting do you use?
We use a dual-tumbler composter. It’s incredibly easy—we just add our food scraps along with some paper, and spin it a couple of times most days. In the last two years, we’ve had to empty it only three times!
We have found that this tumbler works better when the food scraps are cut into small pieces. We use kitchen shears to cut up banana peels, avocado rings, or anything else that’s large. Things like potato or carrot peels are just fine! But as a rule of thumb, smaller pieces will decompose faster.
When we empty the compost bin, we haul the finished compost over to a garden bed where we mix it with soil for our garden in the summer.
How do you store the scraps until they are taken to your compost pile?
We keep a bowl on our counter when we’re prepping food or have something we need to compost. We walk it out to our compost bin once a day.
Our bin is 15 feet outside of our side yard door, so the frequency of dumping it is convenient. We’ve let it sit out for a couple of days before on the counter, and we never have issues with it!
Do you have any special tools or products that help make composting easier or more accessible for you?
The composter we use can be purchased on Amazon. We’ve used some composter starter in the past, but we don’t need it. Aside from this tumbler, we use a shovel and a plastic bin we’ve had forever to empty it.
Do you have any other supplies that you store until you need to add them to your compost pile?
We use whatever is in our paper shredder! Typically junk mail or random papers we don’t need. We’ll also put cardboard egg cartons in there, too. We empty the shredder as needed, or if it’s full, and this doesn’t take up any extra space.
How does your family feel about composting?
The whole family is on board! Even our older daughter, who is almost four, is starting to learn what can and can’t be composted. She likes to help!
Have you experienced any benefits from composting, especially ones that might have surprised you?
My husband and I were amazed at how much less trash we had after we started composting. We throw away less than one full trash bag a week. And we don’t need to take it out often, because there is nothing in it that smells.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your composting practices, especially to help beginners gain confidence that they too can compost?
Honestly, just start! You can read into composting too much. Some tutorials or guides will tell you about wet and dry ratios, etc. It’s nearly impossible to actually mess up.
Where else can we find you and learn more about what you’re up to?
Thanks Alysia for sharing how your family composts at home! If you’re looking for more information on composting, be sure to check out Everything To Know About Composting At Home.