The world of compost is vast, ranging from small bins on back porches to huge industrial bins. Our worm bin was a pretty sizable accomplishment, but there are many other ways for you personally to get composting at home! The compost programs at Albuquerque Academy didn’t come together over night. Back in my sixth and seventh grade days, the only food waste we composted was brought out in one or two small white buckets every other day, and buried in the small bins by the garden by my friends and I during our lunch period. Academy now has wonderful green bins that students and teachers scrape 100% of their food waste into, huge steaming thermo piles, and a worm bin. If you’re excited about compost but don’t know if you can start a huge compost project right this second, there are an unlimited number of smaller scale, less time and space consuming options for you to do on your own or with your friends!
-A good place to start is deciding how much space you want to give to your new compost bin. Keep in mid that you can always expand it in the future, and starting small can give you the knowledge and experience you need to go larger scale.
-Think about how much time you are able to put into it. If digging your dinner scraps into a pile every night sounds like something you will never get around to/always forget, maybe that’s not the best option for you.
-Think about what you want to get out of your compost. If you have a specific project you want to use the compost for, think about how to produce that amount. If you and your neighbors hope to share a bin, think about the necessary size to break down the waste all of you produce, as well as how much compost it will give each of you.
After contemplating these factors, the right compost path for you will become clearer! The three main types of composting are aerobic composting, anaerobic composting, and vermicomposting. Vermicomposting (our favorite) is medium maintenance, and can work at any scale, making it very versatile. Small bins work just as well as large bins with this type of compost! You do have to keep your worms moist and at a comfortable temperature.
Anaerobic compost is very low maintenance, but requires a bit more space and where a worm bin could work on your back porch, you probably wouldn’t want an anaerobic pile on your back porch because it tends to smell more. Anaerobic means “without air.” This works by piling more and more waste on top of waste, causing it to compact over time, ridding it of most of the air, which then creates an environment perfect for slow growing bacteria to munch at your compacted waste.
Aerobic compost is probably the most high maintenance type of compost. This works best for breaking down large amounts of waste, and is less effective on a smaller scale. Aerobic means “with air.” This type of compost requires you to turn it frequently, which is where most of the work comes in. The waste tends to break down more quickly though, so there is less smell than anaerobic compost.
Are you ready to compost yet? Whatever your intentions, scale, or time commitment, vermicompost is always a great way to go!