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C = Compost

Starting your own compost pile is a great way to save money, improve your family’s diet, and teach your kids about the world in which they live.

Compost makes excellent fertilizer for a family garden that can produce healthy fruits, vegetables, and herbs at a fraction of the price you’d pay to buy them in a store, and picky eaters may be more likely to eat healthy fruits and vegetables that they’ve helped grow. No matter where you live, you can get your kids involved in starting a composting pile. And a family compost pile is fun! What could be more fun than worms (and worm poop), or the magic of turning coffee grinds and banana peels into luscious, fresh, airy dirt? Once children get involved it will firmly pass on a great understanding of the cycle of matter, helping them understand everything from forests to recycling to gardening.

Yard and food waste makes up about 26% of the solid waste stream in most US cities. Composting turns that waste into usable fertilizer!

Simple Steps

  • Get a compost bin that fits your space. A large composting bin is great for a big backyard and can provide material for a large family garden. Smaller bins or composting barrels can be stored on rooftops or balconies of apartment buildings. You don’t need a specialized product, but they do make turning your compost easier. Check with your utility company or trash hauling service—they often have deals or giveaways!
  • Use bokashi composters to speed up composting in smaller bins. If you have a small space, adding living micro-organisms to your compost can help speed up the composting process so you don’t have to store as much material at one time. Talk to your kids about how these organisms help break down plant and food material.
  • Make a chart for what can and can’t be composted. Have the kids help make a chart (a photo collage works great!) for the kitchen so everyone knows what can and cannot go into the composting bin. They’ll learn about the difference between organic and inorganic materials and be more likely to compost correctly in the future. What a great way to learn about the physical make-up of food.
  • Make composting a fun household chore for kids. Taking an indoor container full of scraps to an outdoor composting bin might not sound like fun to an adult, but it’s appealing to many kids who know they’ll get to hear the slop sound, and dig and stir the compost pile afterward. Some kids even like to name their compost container and think of deposits as “feeding time.”

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