>Compost: How far can I go?


Compost: how far can I go? How much waxy paper, how many pizza boxes, will actually decompose in the bin with the kitchen waste? Only time (lots of it) will tell.

Last spring I set a few composting goals in a 3-2-1 Summary style. I’d noticed that the litter from the bunny boxes didn’t decompose completely. I still compost the contents of the bunny boxes, but this time I’m planning on leaving the bin for a full year. The time and the heat of a second summer season, I hope, will help the pine and red cedar bits decompose all the way.

Popsicle sticks didn’t decompose very well, either. To hasten the process, I broke the sticky sticks into smaller pieces. If the additional time and the breaking down of fibers doesn’t make a difference, I’ll know they’re just not suffiently biodegradable for a backyard bin.

My main goal was to add in papers of many kinds – papers and cardboards that are food-tainted or otherwise unsuitable for recycling. Take pizza boxes, for example. The lids are usually contaminated with bits of pizza sauce and spices. Advice from the Interwebs said this: tear these lids in strips, soak them to further break down the fibers, and then bury them in the compost. The cardboard circles from the frozen Tombstone can go this route, too. Further experiments: the wrappers from butter/margarine sticks (hoping such small amounts of dairy won’t cause a problem), waxy wrappers from orange dreamsicles, an occasional paper towel.

That paragraph makes it sound like we eat a lot of junk food. We do consume a fair share, (blush) I admit it. Pizza or drive-through foods are the exception, though, not the rule. I’d rather use my crockpot than bring in a Big Mac, and the family knows it.

There won’t be many paper towels, either; we’ve eliminated paper napkins and paper towels almost entirely.

But ultimately, this experiment will depend on time. I have the new composter, and I’ll use that one exclusively next season while the big black one sits and does its thing: lets the compost happen.

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