How to Recycle Organic Matter for Soil


One of the best ways to reduce the amount of trash you produce is to recycle your organic matter and watch it decompose into nutrient-rich soil. It's not difficult to do and it doesn't require an elaborate recycling system. Organic material can be recycled in a back yard or it can be composted on an apartment terrace. All you need are a few organic materials, a system and the desire to make an ecological difference.

Step 1

Determine which organic material is best for composting. The biggest mistake is to choose the wrong material. A rule of thumb is to stick with natural food scraps and untreated paper (paper and cardboard without a wax coating). There are some food scraps such as banana peels and melon rinds that are not recommended for recycling in a home compost only because it takes long to decompose, but in general food items such as produce scraps, egg shells and coffee grinds are great organic material for recycling.

Step 2

Create a storage system. After determining which organic matter to recycle, it's best to create a storage system that will work best for you. Running outside to recycle table scraps after every meal may not be practical, so establishing a storage receptacle is necessary. It could be as simple as a plastic baggie that is stored in the freezer until it's full enough to dump into the compost pile.

Step 3

Accumulate greens and browns for the compost. To successfully recycle organic matter for soil, the compost pile must have a combination of greens and browns. The organic material gathered from your meals and fresh-cut grasses are considered greens (high in nitrogen). Browns decompose a little slower and are high in carbon. Untreated paper, small branches and sawdust are good brown examples.

Step 4

Layer the greens and the browns. There are several different schools of thought for the "perfect" brown/green combination. Some live by a 3-to-1 brown-to-green ratio while others believe 8-to-1 brown to green is best. The best way to determine the right ratio is to test it. Too much green will cause the compost to smell. Too much brown will significantly slow down the composting process.

Step 5

Add water, aerate and let nature take over. Every once in a while it may be necessary to add just enough water to keep the pile damp and to turn the scraps to encourage decomposition.

Who Can Help

  • Trials and Errors of Composting
Keywords: organic composting, recycling matter, compost pile

About this Author

After spending over 20 years writing for businesses in both the insurance and technology industries, Cellina LaForey now spends her time as a freelance writer. The time she spent working with Fortune 100 companies has provided the experience necessary to easily transition into full-time writing.