How to Get Started with a Backyard Composter

You’ll be surprised at how easy composting is (and what a significant environmental impact it has).

Shovel in the dirt
Composting at home is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint.Pexels/Lukas

Compost is essentially do-it-yourself fertilizer. You take stuff that would have normally gone in the garbage—food scraps, mostly—and turn it into the best, fanciest garden fertilizer available by doing basically nothing! There are all kinds of benefits to composting: you keep garbage out of the dump, you don’t have to buy expensive fertilizers for your garden and by using compost instead you can help with the fight against harmful agricultural chemicals and reduce methane emissions from landfills. Here’s how to get started.

Start With The Can

EPICA Stainless Steel Compost Bin
Compost doesn’t have to be smelly in this can.EPICA

The easiest way to compost at home is to have a third waste can, alongside your garbage and recycling. Compost cans are typically much smaller, for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, your scraps aren’t staying in the can for very long, so you have a smaller quantity of stuff that the can has to hold. This stainless steel can is ideal: it has air holes to allow your compost to start its transformation, but it also has a charcoal filter so it doesn’t stink up your house.

You’ll Need A Bag

UNNI ASTM 100% Compostable Trash Bags
Biodegradable bags can be a lifesaver for composting.UNNI

A bag in your compost can isn’t essential, but it can make everything much less messy. It’s just like a garbage bag: you simply toss the entire bag into your composter. These UNNI bags are biodegradable, and break down rapidly, too.

Get The Bin Going

FCMP Outdoor Tumbling Composter
This bin can make your composting life that much cleaner and easier.FCMP

A basic pile in the corner of your yard, along with a pitchfork, will do a very good job of composting, though it’s not the most attractive thing in the world. A dedicated composter is a nice upgrade. This bin is great: it’s compact, it allows you to toss the compost without getting your hands dirty (you just spin it!) and it has two chambers so you can have one batch of compost fermenting and one finished batch for fertilizing your garden.