How To Make A Compost Pile
Making compost is an easy way to incorporate zero waste strategies into your daily life. By tossing yard waste or vegetable scraps into a compost bin, you can repurpose organic waste that would otherwise fill up a landfill.
So, what goes into the composting process? And how can you start making compost piles in your new compost bin? Keep reading to find out.
See Related: What Are Sustainable Materials?
The 4 compost materials every compost pile needs
In your compost bin, you'll want to include these 4 elements. Otherwise, you're not really making compost.
Green material refers to kitchen scraps, food scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and green yard waste. These green materials act as a nitrogen source in your composting process.
Brown material refers to newspaper, cardboard, sawdust, dried leaves, or other dry, plant based products. Brown materials are typically high in carbon, helping to maintain moisture and aeration in your compost bins.
If there's not enough moisture in your compost bin, you'll want to add water. Particularly to your brown material.
Air allows for aerobic bacteria to break down the organic materials in your compost pile. With your green material, brown material, water, and air properly mixed, you'll be able to stimulate that bacteria and begin making usable compost!
How to build a compost pile
You might be using compost bins or a compost tumbler. But either way, every compost heap should be layered in this specific way to start.
#1. Clear a space in your yard
When you build an eco-friendly compost heap, you'll want a big clear space in your yard. You can place your compost bins or compost tumbler here. Or simply start your compost heap with plenty of clear space around it (away from your garden beds, of course).
#2. Build a base layer of twigs or a leaf pile
Before adding on food scraps and grass clippings, you'll want to start your compost pile with some pine needles or twigs. A few inches of this organic material will help provide good drainage in case you're not using a compost bin.
#3. Layer on your composting materials
Next, you'll alternate between adding brown materials and green materials. Layering your compost heap will allow the organic matter to mix into (hopefully and eventually) a rich soil.
#4. Introduce a nitrogen source
It's true that green material offers its own source of nitrogen. But in case you need a little bit more, you can add a handful of nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer.
This will help to jumpstart the decomposition process. That is, if you're not doing worm composting in your own compost bin which can make compost faster.
#5. Keep the pile moist
A compost pile should feel moist. But not so much that you could squeeze water out of it.
Instead, try to aim for the feeling of a damp sponge. This goes for whether you're making a DIY compost bin, tending to a compost heap, or turning a store-bought compost bin every couple of weeks.
#6. Repeat the turning process every couple of weeks
Ideally, your compost pile should be heating up to an internal temperature of 120F. If you notice that your own compost heap isn't heating up, consider the elements of the compost heap altogether.
Is there enough green material? Is your compost pile the right size? Is there enough moisture in your compost bin? Is there too much moisture in your compost bin?
Is enough air getting into your compost bins? Always refer back to the four elements of composting.
#7. Add your PAPR deodorant tube to the compost bin
As you add more food scraps and grass clippings in the coming weeks, don't forget that your PAPR deodorant tube can be composted too! Our zero waste deodorant will make a welcome addition to your other kitchen scraps.
And it will serve as brown material in the compost heap. This way, your plastic free deodorant can give back to organic matter and be repurposed as "fuel" for your compost bins.
Bonus: Why Use Natural Deodorant?
Additional composting tips
While this isn't an exhaustive guide on how to create a compost heap, it's certainly a start. Whether you use a compost bin made of hardware cloth or worm bins for worm composting, these tips will come in handy.
Add egg shells to increase calcium in your compost piles
Adding egg shells to your compost bins will increase the calcium in your finished compost. Calcium will help to neutralize odors and discourage flies from hanging around your compost heap.
Add more nitrogen if you have more brown materials than organic materials
If your brown ratio is too high, consider adding more nitrogen with grass clippings. Such a bin with an offset ratio will result in compost bins that aren't composting - and that's not the goal!
Turn food scraps so they're not at the top of the compost pile
As easy as it is to toss grass clippings or food scraps on top of your compost heap, make sure you turn the compost bin every time. This way, food waste won't attract rodents or other critters to wreak havoc on your compost bin.
Don't add garden waste to your compost pile
Be careful when adding garden waste to your compost heap. The last thing you want to do is add diseased plants to your compost bin and have weed seeds spread.
In general, the best materials to add to your compost fin will be any of the following:
- Fruit and vegetable peels
- Coffee grounds
- Egg shells
- Shredded paper
- PAPR aluminum free deodorant tube
- Soiled cardboard
The bottom line
If you're thinking of starting a compost bin, go for it! It may take some time for you to see finished compost.
But many trees and the planet will thank you for composting and repurposing your waste.
PAPR Cosmetics is on a mission to create conscious beauty products with as little impact on the planet as possible. Our products are fully recyclable, vegan, and cruelty-free. When we take down one tree, we plant a new one. For more information and sustainability tips, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and Tumblr.