International Compost Week 2022!
Did you know that last week was International Compost Week? This year’s theme is Recipe for Regeneration: Compost which means focusing “on the crucial role recycling our food scraps and yard trimmings plays by creating compost, which when added to soil results in a recipe that makes our food more nutritious, the air we breathe cleaner and our climate healthier overall.” Last week, from May 1 – May 7, we celebrated everything compost!
Composting is the most local form of recycling. By taking our food scraps and turning them into compost at our local Salt Lake Valley Landfill and then returning them to our yards and gardens to produce healthy and beautiful plants, we create a closed loop! The landfill is located at 6030 W. California Ave. (1300 S.), Salt Lake City , UT 84104 and is open Monday through Saturday from 7am to 5pm. If you have questions, you can contact the landfill at 385-468-6370.
Prevents soil erosion- Composting prevents erosion by binding soil together, increasing infiltration, and slowing the surface flow of water.
Manages stormwater- Compost helps to control water flows on and through soil, thereby proving to be a capable tool for stormwater management.
Promotes healthier plant growth- Compost balances soil density, adds and retains nutrients, and discourages disease, pests and weeds.
Conserves water- Compost retains and efficiently transfers water through the soil, allowing surrounding plants to maximize water for growth. This in turn saves you money by minimizing the amount of irrigation you will have to provide to your project!
Reduces Waste- Compost is generally made from waste (food scraps, yard waste, organic byproducts, etc) that is diverted from landfill flows. This reduces the amount of waste going to landfills and it upcycles those materials into a productive, environmentally beneficial product.
Combats climate change- Composting cuts down on greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and makes ecosystems more resilient to rising temperatures. .
Reduces project management costs- Compost promotes healthy plant growth, thereby reducing mortality and subsequent replacement costs. Additionally, compost promotes drought resistance which lowers artificial irrigation costs.
Improves soil health- Compost adds nutrients and soil biota, and improves the biological, chemical and structural health of soils.
Composting at home
While Salt Lake City offers compost collection through our curbside services, another way of keeping your compost even more local is to do it in your own yard! Salt Lake Valley Landfill has some useful info on composting at home, but here’s a brief rundown of how to get started and maintain a healthy compost pile.
Step 1: Choose a composting bin or pile at least 3 ft X 3 ft, this ensures that enough oxygen flows through and helps maintain the proper temperature.
Step 2: Place (chopped or shredded) kitchen or yard waste into the composting bin/pile.
Step 3: Layer and mix the organic material with soil. Soil contains the micro-organisms & soil creatures, “bugs”, that do the work of turning organic matter into compost. (An inch to 1/2 inch layer of soil over the top of the compost will also keep the surface from drying out.)
Step 4: Adjust the amount of water in your compost pile. Add dry straw, sawdust, or wood
chips to a soggy pile, and add water to a pile that is too dry. That materials should be damp to the
touch, like a damp sponge.
Step 5: Allow the compost bin or pile to bake at 90º to 140ºF. This temperature should be
reached in five to seven days.
Step 6: Turn the compost to give it oxygen as it bakes to speed up the composting process. If a bin or pile is turned every week with the proper moisture & mix of materials, the compost should be ready to use in 2-3 months. If the material in your bin or pile is not turned, the compost should be ready in 10 or more months. Compost is ready to use when it is dark & crumbly with a clean earthy smell. The original organic matter should not be identifiable.