From table to garden to table. Composting is a circle of life and food. For those who don't know, and I'm sure many don't, table scraps (and other assorted items) can be recycled into fertilizer for new plants.
According to Dictionary.com, composting is "a mixture of various decaying organic substances, as dead leaves or manure, used for fertilizing soil." It can include many other organic materials as well -- most of which you use everyday in your own kitchen. For instance, egg shells, banana peels, vegetable scraps, etc., can all be put into the compost to decompose into fresh, organic soil.
Composting can be done either inside or outside, but in areas with freezing weather, such as Wisconsin, composting can be done outside in summer but should be done somewhere inside in winter. Usually a basement or cellar is best, as the smell can get a little overwhelming.
Outside composting is relatively easy, and doesn't take a lot of room. For suggestions on a DIY compost pile, check out www.diynetwork.com.
Indoors composting is easier in cold weather, and it can be done with the help of some little wriggly garden friends -- worms. For these who don't like to touch worms (me!) you don't need to. They just need to be added to the pile of material being composted in a large container. You can purchase many different types of indoor compost containers online or at garden stores. The worms do not need to be added to outdoor compost bins, as they invite themselves. There are many types of starter kits in many sizes that can make this easier for the first-time composter. I will be starting this adventure myself soon, and I will definitely post an update after I get started.
To complete the circle of compost to food to compost, use your new, fresh, organic compost to grow your own fruits and vegetables. You will never have to worry about pesticides, as you know exactly what is in the soil! Gardens can be large or small and put almost anywhere. Plus, having your own plants indoors helps to freshen the air, as plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. They're basically the Earth's natural air purifier!
If you're not sure composting is the way to go, just put an empty bucket or pail with a lid somewhere in the kitchen where you'll be sure to see it, and start adding food scraps that would usually go down the disposal or in the garbage. When the bucket is full, decide whether you would rather dump that all in a landfill or into a compost bin for hungry worms. It doesn't require any effort after it's set up, and even if you don't use that beautiful compost to grow anything, you can spread it out in your flower garden or around your trees in your lawn. They'll love you for it!
A list of what to compost/not to compost: