How to Reduce Your Organic Waste by Composting


Composting can be confusing at first as you start to learn what you can and can't add and how to best care for the material inside your composter. Once you have the hang of it, composting is one of the easiest ways to reduce your organic waste and reap the benefits of free compost for your garden. Through composting, you'll begin to realize just how much usable organic waste you have been throwing out and how you can turn your trash into "black gold" treasure.

Step 1

Setup your composter in a partially shaded area near your backdoor close to a tree, a shed or your house to allow the sun to hit the composter, but also allow some shade so the pile doesn't dry out too quickly.

Step 2

Add material to the composter when you have it available, always filling the composter with equal amounts of "green" and "brown" material each time. Green materials include your nitrogen-rich kitchen wastes, plant trimmings, coffee grounds, eggshells and fresh grass clippings. Brown materials are the carbon-rich dry leaves, twigs, straw and dried grass clippings.

Step 3

Tend to your composter to keep it cooking by turning the material weekly and adding approximately 1/2 gallon of water to the pile each time you turn it. This keeps the pile full of moisture and air as the clippings and scraps breakdown into usable compost.

Step 4

Smell the air when you turn your compost. A healthy pile will have only the aroma of soil, while a bad odor can signal something wrong such as a lack of oxygen, or too much water. Regular turning and keeping the pile lightly damp should remedy most problems.

Step 5

Reduce organic waste by composting household items that aren't normally considered. Plain cardboard, newspaper, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, used paper towels, used napkins, hair and used matches can all be included in your compost as brown material.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never add animal products such as feces, bone, blood, oils, dairy, fats or meats as these can attract critters.

Things You'll Need

  • Composter
  • Pitchfork
  • Water
  • Household and yard scraps


  • "The Rodale Guide to Composting"; Jerry Minnich and Marjorie Hunt; 1979
Keywords: composting organic waste, home composting, reduce organic waste

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.