Turn your scraps into fresh com­post

Austin American-Statesman - - GARDENING - By Ca­role Feld­man

If help­ing the en­vi­ron­ment isn’t in­cen­tive enough to start com­post­ing, con­sider this: It will save you time and money, too.

“If you’re mak­ing com­post, you’re go­ing to be re­duc­ing your needs for fer­til­izer and wa­ter,” said Jean Sch­wab, the Green­Scapes pro­gram man­ager at the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. You’ll also elim­i­nate the need to bag grass clip­pings or rake leaves.

Sch­wab es­ti­mates that yard and food waste amount to more than 25 per­cent — or 60 tons — of the ma­te­rial in land­fills. If peo­ple start com­post­ing, “a sig­nif­i­cant amount of waste then can be di­verted from the land­fill,” she said.

Com­post­ing oc­curs in na­ture, as plants, leaves and other veg­etable mat­ter die and de­cay. Peo­ple can em­u­late that in their back­yards, and even their kitchens.

“In my view, the con­scious cre­ation of com­post is mankind’s sin­gle great­est gift back to the planet,” said Paul Tukey, founder of safelawns.org and author of “The Or­ganic Lawn Care Man­ual.”

Here are some com­post­ing ba­sics:

Sam J. Jensen as­so­ci­ated Press

Jen­nifer Car­pen­ter Jensen dumps food scraps from a con­tainer she keeps in her kitchen into a com­post­ing bin out­side her home in Larch­mont, N.Y. Bins like this one can be pur­chased, but you also can make your own or use the pile method.

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