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Many people looking to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle may wonder how to set up a compost at home. Setting up your own at-home composting system is quite simple. You will need to select a spot in your yard, choose or bin or create your own container, add your materials (for example, leftover fruits and veggie scraps), and then consistently monitor. To learn more about waste management such as organic waste disposal and composting programs and services, contact the experts at Panda Environmental today!  



How To Set Up a Compost At Home


Setting up a compost at home has many benefits. Many people feel intimidated by the idea of setting up their own compost at home - some people worry that it might be too 'gross' or that it will attract pests and other unwanted visitors. However, when done correctly, it is a wonderful way to add nutrients to your soil and properly dispose of your organic waste. Check out the video below to see how you can set up your own at-home compost. 


This video outlines the benefits of composting and shows you step-by-step how to start your own!



In the section below, we'll go over a more thorough explanation of how to set up your own compost. If you don't have a yard or feel like your yard is too small to set up a compost bin, don't worry! There are other options for you. For example, food digestors, worm bins, and other apartment-suitable composting options are simple and easy to set up too. If you're looking for other ways to reduce waste, check out our top recycling ideas here!


Setting Up Your Compost - A Step-By-Step Guide

There is no 'one way' to compost - everyone will have their own preferences and level of commitment. For example, some homeowners may just have a small bin in their backyard designated for yard waste and food scraps. Others will have a large composting system that requires significant maintenance and includes a wide variety of components. This guide uses the methods outlined in the Planet Natural composting guide, which is a guide for the average homeowner looking for an 'average' composting system. 


Step 1 - Choose Your Composting Site



You will want to choose a spot for your compost bin that can provide shade throughout the day



Before you can do anything else, you will need to select the spot in your yard that your composting bin will go. Finding the perfect spot can be a challenge, but here are some tips to help you pick the best site: 


  • Keep compost away from neighbours - Even with proper maintenance, compost bins may end up with a less-than-pleasant smell, especially depending on the food and materials you keep inside. Ideally, you will want to keep your bin away from your fence and away from your neighbours, who may not be too pleased to smell or even see the contents of your compost bin.  
  • Keep compost away from pets - If you have pets, especially dogs, you will want to ensure your compost is safely away from your pets. Some common fruits and vegetables can be toxic to dogs and other animals. You also do not want cat or dog poop to end up in your compost bin. Not only that, but the last thing you want is your dog sniffing and licking his way through your compost bin! 
  • Try to find a spot with good airflow - Airflow is important both for ensuring that your compost stays as 'fresh' as possible, and ensuring that microorganisms get the proper amount of oxygen that they need to do their job.
  • Pick a shady spot close to water access - You want to make sure that your compost is not 'baking' in the sun, especially during those long, hot summer days. Try to find a spot that has at least partial shade during the day (and partial sun as well - for winter time!) You'll also want to make sure that your compost is close to a water source, as moisture is a very important part of the composting process. 


Step 2 - Choose (Or Make) Your Bin



A large compost bin system made with both wood and metal containers



Once you have found your perfect spot, it's time to choose (or make) your perfect bin! If you are into DIY projects, creating your own compost bin can be a lot of fun. If you are looking to make a compost bin that can hold a lot of organic material, then you may want to consider making your own wooden compost bin. These bins can be custom-made for your specific and unique needs. You can even create a wooden compost bin with multiple compartments! It's all up to you. If this sounds interesting to you, check out this great how-to guide from DIY Network!


Most homeowners, however, choose to simply buy a bin or use an old plastic container. This is because many homeowners only need a small composting container, and plastic containers require less maintenance than wood, which can rot or attract insects. You can also choose to buy a plastic (or another type of) composting container - a container that is made for home composting.


The benefits of these containers vs a regular plastic container are that you don't have to modify it at all. Simply set it in place, and go! With DIY plastic containers, you will still have to drill holes and cut pieces out of it to ensure proper aeration. If you do choose to make your own, Planet Natural recommends you create the bin to be 3x3x3 feet - you want to ensure that your pile can still generate its own heat, but isn't so big that you'll have trouble turning it. 



Step 3 - Add Your Materials



It is important to know what you can and can't compost - for example, fruit and vegetable scraps are a great addition to your compost bin 



Once your bin is ready to go, you can immediately add your materials! You'll want to start creating compost right away, and that is not too hard to do! However, there are certain things that you definitely should put in your compost and other materials that should never go in your compost! Here are a few examples of each: 


  • DO Compost: Vegetables and fruit scraps, egg shells, yard waste (e.g. lawn clippings, fallen leaves, etc), sawdust (from untreated wood), straw, wood chips (small, fine pieces), coffee grounds and filters, and more
  • DO NOT Compost: Meat, fish, and dairy products, dog and cat droppings (however, manure from vegetarian animals is okay - such as rabbit or cow), coated paper, coal fire ash, large branches or pieces of wood, sawdust (from treated wood), and more

It is very important to know exactly what you can and cannot put into your compost container. Materials on the "do not" list may cause a variety of problems if added. For example, cat and dog waste can contain microorganisms and even parasites that you do not want to end up in the compost that will fertilize your plants and food. In theory, meat and fish products are not bad - however, they can stink and attract many unwanted guests like rats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and other animals. Before adding a new material to your compost, there's no harm double checking just to make sure that item will be beneficial to your compost!



Step 4 - Maintain & Monitor Your Bin



Ensure you regularly check the temperature, moisture, and properly aerate your compost bin to keep it healthy



Having your own compost bin does require some maintenance - it's important to realize that in order to get that high-quality fertilizer you're looking forward to, you will need to put in some effort. Although adding materials is a big part of the composting process, you will also have to monitor your compost for signs that things are going well (or not), and then maintain accordingly. Here are some things to look out for according to Planet Natural


  • Check the temperature - Though this may sound a bit unpleasant, you will need to make sure your compost is as the correct temperature. An easy way to do this is to just put your hand into the centre of the bin and feel. The temperature should be warm-hot to the touch. Warm or hot means that your compost's microbes are doing their job. If your compost becomes cool, it means the microbes have slowed, and you may need to add new materials. If you don't like the idea of sticking your hand into your compost pile, you can use a cooking thermometer. It should read between 140 - 170 F. 
  • Check the moisture - Your compost pile is going to need the perfect amount of water. Not too much and not too little. You should notice the pile is moist, but not soaking wet. If you notice too little moisture, add some water. If you notice too much, you can add more materials to help absorb some of that extra water. 
  • Ensure proper aeration: One of the most important things to ensure with your compost pile is that the microbes and tiny organisms helping you break down your waste have enough oxygen. There are a variety of ways you can ensure proper aeration, such as using a compost aerator or simple pitchfork, and by adding materials like branches that stick out and can be shaken to help loosen compost on the bottom and sides. 


The Benefits Of Composting


Compost is a natural fertilizer, is great for the environment, and helps reduce the amount of organic waste entering landfills



Creating your own compost bin at home is a bit of extra work and will require regular maintenance. However, many homeowners are beginning to see that the benefits far outweigh the small amount of extra work it takes to have and maintain a bin. Here are some of the biggest benefits you'll see if you choose to compost at home!


  • Enriches your soil - If you love gardening or you grow your own food, then composting is an excellent way to enrich your soil, suppress diseases that plants and crops are prone to, and ensure your plants are as healthy as can be!
  • Great way to recycle organic waste - Organic waste recycling is an important topic, as organic waste that ends up in landfills can cause serious problems to our environment through methane emissions. Composting at home helps ensure that food waste is properly disposed of - and returns to the earth!
  • Reduces chemical use - When you compost, you create your own nutrient-rich fertilizer. That means you won't have a need to use chemical fertilizers! 
  • It feels great - Of course, one of the reasons why people compost is because it feels great! Not only does it feel good to give back to the planet, but composting can be a fun, hands-on way to enhance your own at-home gardening experience. 



Protect Our Environment - Partner With Panda Environmental Today!


Did you know that Panda Environmental offers a wide variety of organic waste management programs and services? We understand the benefits of proper organic waste disposal - both at home and in commercial settings. Click here to learn more about our food waste and composting services!


Work with Panda today and you will work with a waste management company that cares about recycling and the environment. Panda Environmental has strived to be a leader in the responsible waste management and recycling solutions across Ontario for over 15 years.


We are able to service all of your business' waste and recycling handling needs, including hazardous waste. 


For a full list of our service areas, click here


Click here for a list of all of the waste management and recycling solutions that we provide.





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