In addition to the trash can and the recycling bin, there could and perhaps should be an increased presence of an additional receptacle for waste in and around St. Louis homes in the future. This container would be the home compost bin.
What is compost?
Compost is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as “organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow.” Compost can be made from various items already found in a typical home garbage can.
Discarded food, waste, parts of food that people can’t eat (like eggshells), and many other household items can be composted and added to soil, rather than rotting away or sitting atop a landfill. A list of which items can and can’t be composted is listed here on the EPA’s website.
How to compost:
There are a variety of home food and waste compost bins available to purchase, although, like the EPA, the St. Louis County Health Department also recommends simply finding an outdoor area with good water drainage, and gathering the materials together into a “mound.” Compost materials should be stacked in a repetitive alternating pattern between materials that are visually green and those that are brown.
As explained on the EPA’s website, “[t]he brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the green materials provide nitrogen, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter” to help aid in the decomposition process.
The soil will be “dark and rich” when the process is finished. For more detailed instructions on how to compost, see the EPA’s Composting Fact Sheet, as well as instructional videos from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
What occurs during composting?
Composting is yet another way people can recycle reusable materials back into the earth. As explained on the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ website, the compost pile is a place ripe for bacteria, worms, fungi, and other microorganisms to perform the decomposition process.
Many restaurants and organizations in the St. Louis area participate in commercial-scale composting through companies such as St. Louis Composting.