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Above: A pumpkin rots in a compost bin in a photo by Joel Kuszai.
For the first time in eight years, the Regional Recycling Coordinating Committee is holding a composter and rain barrel sale in honor of Earth Day and to promote composting.
Compost and rain barrels are available on the Mid-Michigan Backyard Compost and Rain Barrel Sale website. The sale is going on until March 16.
Orders will only be available for pick-up on March 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the MSU Surplus and Recycling Center. Any orders that are not picked up may be donated to local charities and community gardens.
According to Catherine DeShambo, Environmental Services Administrator for East Lansing, composting is an economically-efficient and environmentally-beneficial way to dispose of waste.
“One of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases is methane from landfill – food waste is much better utilized when used in composting rather than landfilled,” DeShambo said in an email to ELi.
She added that, “Fuel and energy are saved when waste is not transported to a landfill. Instead of paying to dispose of your yard waste or throwing away food scraps, why not save money and compost at home?”
She explained that composting represents a natural recycling system.
“Composting is easy to do and it is nature's recycling system,” DeShambo said. “Leaves, grass clippings, flowers, plants, food waste scraps and other yard trimmings can be easily composted. Composting produces a dark, rich, organic soil-like substance.”
Composted material “is an excellent soil conditioner,” notes DeShambo. “Compost improves soil structure, retains water, encourages root growth, aerates the soil, slowly releases nutrients, and supports beneficial organisms such as earthworms.”
DeShambo explained that getting a composting bin to meet a person’s needs is important, as is a good location. She also said that, while there aren’t necessarily “cons,” residents should remain aware of what should and shouldn’t go into compost.
“I would say that make sure you know what can and can’t go in a compost bin prior to starting,” DeShambo said.
DeShambo says that materials in a compost need to be a mix of brown material, such as dead leaves, branches and twigs, green material such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, coffee grounds and fruit scraps and water. There should be a roughly equal amount of green and brown material.
What should not go in is animal material like dog waste or raw or cooked meat.
Regarding the location of a compost bin, it should be in a dry and shady location with a water source nearby.
Build-your-own open compost bins like the one shown below are another option available to local residents.
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