While we may be sad to say goodbye to the ski season, it’s hard not to look around and feel joy at the signs of spring. The warming sun, the green peeking through the brown, and if you look closely, buds are emerging on the trees! These are all signs to start thinking about our gardens, and it’s a great time to think about composting. If you’ve been interested in adding compost, or just need a refresher on what to put in your bin, start by celebrating International Compost Awareness Week, May 2-8!
Composting is a biological process that turns our food scraps, yard waste and other organic waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment, also called compost. That resulting compost can be mixed in with the soil on gardens and landscapes, and helps improve soil health, plant growth and water retention, especially helpful in our dry climate. Using compost reduces the need to additional fertilizers, as well.
There are other benefits of this process as well. When organic material is put in the landfill it releases methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. But by putting organics through the composting process instead, we are greatly reducing the emissions from our waste. It’s a local recycling process that puts organic waste to a much better use than landfilling it, which in turn helps our community to reach its climate action goals. There are personal benefits, too, like simply taking the trash out less! And for businesses, it’s a great way to not only be a sustainability champion, but you can offer it as an employee benefit by letting staff bring their compost in from home. The hauling cost can often be offset by reducing trash pickups.
There are multiple ways to compost. You can set up a backyard composter or worm bin and do it yourself at home, or you can sign up for a commercial composting program, all great options here in Eagle County. If we’ve piqued your interest in composting, read on for some helpful tips for successful composting, and follow along with Walking Mountains Science Center as we celebrate International Compost Awareness Week, May 2-8!
Tips for Composting
- Get composting! EverGreen Zero Waste and Vail Honeywagon are our local commercial composting providers, and they’ll do the dirty work for you by hauling your food scraps away to make compost. Check them out to learn more about the business and residential composting options in Eagle County.
- Use local compost. Compost products produced here not only supports the local economy, but are good for your garden as well. Compost produced in our environment is already acclimated to our unique climate, so it is ready to start working as soon as it’s applied. Roaring Fork residents can purchase compost directly from the compost facility at the Pitkin County landfill. Eagle Valley residents can find Vail Honeywagon’s compost at many local garden stores.
- Look at your trash! You’d be surprised by how much in there is compostable. Things like fruit peels, veggie scraps, egg shells, paper towels, even the mysterious leftovers you forgot about are all compostable.
- Celebrate Compost Awareness Week! Follow @walkingmtns on Instagram and Walking Mountains Sustainability on Facebook for more composting tips, tricks and special giveaways all week, May 2-8.
Nina Waysdorf is the Sustainability Programs Coordinator at Walking Mountains Science Center and avid composter.