With just one week to go on Subpod’s Kickstarter campaign and with peak gardening season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to support a local business doing good, reduce your carbon footprint and get compostin’. They’ve already smashed their $55k goal and they’re offering up to 29% off when you pre-order* their composting system… AND they’ll plant two trees for every order.
Don’t think green – think brown! Composting isn’t just for the worms. There are so many benefits to composting your organic waste at home and it doesn’t have to involve complicated, labour intensive systems. The benefits to the environment are endless, not to mention the benefits to your family, the wider community and the soil that sustains all life on earth.
According to the ABC, us Australians throw out about 20% of the food we buy. That’s a whopping 3.3 million tonnes of food per year, which ends up mostly in landfill. It doesn’t have to be such a waste! Besides obviously reducing the food waste problem, if this amount was thrown into the compost instead, then we’d be well on our way to reducing our carbon footprint and creating our own healthy soil at home. Most importantly for climate change, composting significantly reduces the production of methane , a powerful greenhouse house that’s said to have a 34x greater impact on climate change than CO².
Need more convincing?
- Organic waste is a resource – let’s keep it out of landfill and put it to work
- Composting retains water in the soil and improves soil structure
- It encourages biodiversity in your garden, including bacteria, fungi and wildlife
- It helps you make your own (free) fertilizer and grow tasty, nutrient-rich food
- It connects you to the circle of life (cue The Lion King music)
- It uses waste products that we’d throw out anyway– it’s nature’s way of recycling!
What can you compost?
Basically anything that is living or has once lived. Most of these items will biodegrade in a few months. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Garden waste; grass, palm fronds, leaf litter and seaweed (if you’re coastal)
- Kitchen waste; cooked or raw foods, all fruit, vegetable and meat scraps
- Paper products; Newspaper, office paper, tissues, paper tea bags and coffee filters, toilet paper and cardboard
- Timber products; Untreated timber and wood products
- Weird stuff; Human and pet hair, nail clippings, and natural rubber latex products (yeah condoms; as long as they’re not blended with plastic)
- Natural fibres; Cotton, linen, hemp, silk and Tencel clothing and fabrics
- Bioplastics and PLA (polylactic acid) products; Cornstarch or vegetable oil based ‘plastics’. Be aware that most of these products require commercial, high temperature composting facilities to break down and your at-home compost won’t cut it. Check with the manufacturer, your local Council and the local materials recovery facility (MRF).
What are the big no no’s?
Anything made from plastic, hazardous or treated materials, pest plants, poop and too much of one thing. These items can take hundreds of years to biodegrade and negatively influence the biota in your compost.
- Any petroleum based products (aka. plastics and polyester); Watch for hidden plastics in conventional brands of items like tea bags, coffee filters, glossy paper, dental floss, clothing, glitter, body products with microbeads, receipts, cardboard boxes, chewing gum, tampons, nappies, condoms, and the stickers on produce
- Treated wood products; Treated, varnished or painted timber and sawdust
- Unwanted pests; Diseased and sick plants, weeds and their seeds
- Excrement; Human, animal and pet waste (unless it’s been processed properly). Consider if the animals have been treated with de-worming drugs, as this may kill the good guys in your soil
- Dangerous/ hazardous waste; Any dangerous waste, medical waste, cleaning chemicals, other harsh chemicals and strong acid or alkaline products
- Heavy metals; Any products that may contain heavy metals (including lead)
- Others; Large amounts of fat, oil, meat, dairy, animal bones, onion, citrus and fermented foods.
How can you compost with the most?
You can, of course, just chuck a hole in the ground in the corner of your garden and dig your precious organic waste into the soil that way. Although, this leaves it open to pests and hungry intruders, such as rats, scrub turkeys and bin chickens, which disrupt the process and often leave a big mess behind. Then there’s above-ground worm farms, which are great for using worms to process your organic waste but it can be difficult to harvest the finished humus product. There’s been a new Australian invention that everyone is talking about, which solves all of these major problems – The Subpod*.
The Subpod is a contained, underground compost system which is attached to a garden bed. The concept is very simple, but brilliant, and involves a composting box with holes in it (to allow for the travel of microorganisms and worms from the box to your garden bed) to be embedded into a new or existing raised garden platform. The result is a protected, odourless compost system which is functionally designed for your home or office garden space – and it doubles as a garden seat so you can sit and admire the worms’ hard work (’cause let’s face it – they’re doing all the work here!)
This Byron Bay based business has just one week to go on their Kickstarter campaign and you can check it out, support their campaign and pre-order your own Subpod composting system for your home, school or workplace here*.
*Disclosure: I am committed to transparency, honesty and finding the most ethical and environmentally-friendly products out there. I wouldn’t recommend a product or business I didn’t 100% support. Whilst all of the above are my genuine recommendations based on my experience and research over many years, some of the links provided in this article are affiliate links (links with a *). For these links, I will be paid a commission on any sales which result directly from the link. You will be charged the same price nonetheless. This is an easy and free way for you to support the work that I do. So, thank you in advance!
*Photographs by Subpod and Wild Search Australia.