How to Compost at Home

How to compost at home?

compost at home

Image by herb007 from Pixabay

Now that we’re all spending more time at home, it’s the perfect time to take up a new backyard project! Setting up a compost pile is a family-friendly activity that can benefit your yard and garden for years to come. 

The best thing about composting is that you can completely customize it to fit your family’s needs! Whether you set up a bin in the backyard to add your kitchen scraps to or ferment scraps in the freezer, there are plenty of ways to participate in this eco-approved activity. 

Composting basics

So what is compost, anyway? Compost is a healthy soil feeder that’s a result of decomposition of organic waste. Nutrient-rich materials made up of carbon or nitrogen work together to speed up this decomposition process. You can have nutrient-rich topsoil in as little as two months, that you can then reuse in your yard and garden. 

Some kitchen scraps that would normally end up in the trash can be composted instead. This helps you reduce your landfill waste and reverse the impacts of climate change by releasing healthy oxygen into the air. So it’s a win-win!

Compost this, not that

Did you know that nearly 25% of all the solid waste from U.S. households comes from the kitchen? Rather than throwing everything in the trash, you can reuse many of your kitchen scraps for composting instead. 

While many organic materials can be reused, there’s also a lot of items that can’t be. If you put the wrong thing in your compost pile you could delay the decomposition or poison your pile. If you sprinkle soiled compost onto your yard, you could even kill your plants so you’ll want to follow directions carefully here. 

This free printable is great to hang in your kitchen. It details what you can and can’t compost so you and your kids never forget what materials to save, and which to toss instead. 

A compost pile has three main ingredients: browns (carbon-rich materials), greens (nitrogen-rich materials) and moisture. Your browns to green ratio should be 3:1, so you’ll always want more brown layers than green. 

Here’s a list of common brown and green ingredients: 


These common materials add essential carbon to your compost

  • Shredded newspaper
  • Branches and twigs 
  • Dead leaves
  • Egg shells


You’ll find most of your greens in the kitchen. Use these materials to add nitrogen to your compost:

  • Fruits and veggies
  • Old flowers
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Loose tea and tea bags

Materials to skip

Not every material is healthy for compost–in fact, many kitchen scraps should be avoided entirely. Here are organic materials to avoid: 

  • Diseased plants and weeds
  • Citrus fruit peels
  • Meat and dairy
  • Cooking oils
  • Coal or charcoal ash

Now that you’ve got your compost materials together, it’s time to make your pile! Discover tips for setting up your compost pile in your backyard with this visual from The Zebra! There are also alternative tips for composting indoors if you don’t have access to outside space. 

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