Your Sustainability Tips: Composting

One of the many perks of living in Cedar Rapids is regular curbside yard waste pickup. From a sustainability standpoint, this service opens up the door to reduce your personal carbon footprint and support our aging city infrastructure. How? Composting, of course!
Composting is important for a few reasons. First, the more yard and kitchen waste that goes into your Yardy or compost bin, the less is contributed to the already-crowded landfill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Food scraps and yard waste currently make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”
A second reason compost is important is because it is the new “black gold” for a gardener. That finished compost is a valuable contributor to soil quality in your flower beds or vegetable gardens.
Even if you don’t have your own compost bin, you can toss your kitchen and waste into your Yardy. Almost any organic matter is fair game:
  • Aquatic weeds
  • Bread
  • Coffee grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Evergreen needles
  • Fruit
  • Fruit peels and rinds
  • Garden wastes
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Paper (including napkins and paper towels)
  • Sawdust
  • Straw
  • Sod
  • Tea leaves
  • Vegetables
  • Wood ash
  • Wood chips
  • Non-shiny newsprint
However, it is generally not recommended to compost the following organic matter:
  • Dairy products
  • Bones
  • Cat, dog, or human manure
  • Any meats (chicken, fish, beef, etc.)
  • Lard or oils
  • Mayonaise
  • Peanut butter
  • Salad dressings
  • Diseased plant material
  • Weeds that have gone to seed
We recommend keeping a little bin or bucket with a lid in your kitchen to collect your food scraps, and once a week put them in a paper bag and toss in your Yardy with your regular yard waste. Make this a habit and you’ll be doing your part to reduce unnecessary landfill waste and related methane gasses.
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