Sustainable living can often be overwhelming, and sometimes it can feel as though there is nothing you can individually do to make an impact. However, this is 100% not the case! It may not feel like it, but the little steps that you take to live an eco-conscious lifestyle have an incredible impact on you, your community and eventually the world. One small step that you could make is to educate yourself about composting.
What is composting? Composting is a natural process that helps break down organic matter and turn food scraps and other biodegradable items into fertilizer for your soil. This process can help reduce our carbon footprint and prevent our own waste ending up in landfill. So what are the benefits of composting? And how can we compost if we don’t have a garden?
Hannah Churton is the Worm Monger, an educational blog devoted to composting and reducing household organic paste, particularly in the urban environment. Her content is informative, witty and full of puns! We wanted to break down the facts about composting so that we all understand how easy it is.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into composting.
My parents introduced me to composting growing up and 'the habit' meant it was something I naturally continued into adulthood. My real passion for 'building soil' didn't really come until I got into gardening as an adult. I travelled overseas a lot for work and creating a garden was a way to build a home in a new and foreign city. And creating a garden means building soil. So many places I travelled had such poor soil so I needed to build my own with compost. The Worm Monger was born in Tel Aviv, after I was posted there for work in 2014. It was a way of documenting the rooftop garden I built in my ancient city apartment overlooking the Mediterranean. It was just a record for family to start out, but it caught on and I realised there was an experience and knowledge there that people were interested in. I now use my Instagram account to document the trials and tribulations of the community compost hub and verge garden that I run from my home in Brisbane. And I've recently gone 'full-nerd' and commenced a PhD in food waste reduction.
My mantra is: just get your hands dirty! The more you get out and just do it, the more you'll understand the process and the more proficient you'll become. - The Worm Monger
What are the benefits of composting?
Households produce over a third of the organic waste that goes to landfill. Many people don't realise that food waste in landfill is a significant cause of greenhouse gasses - in fact if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter after the USA and China. Composting diverts waste from landfill and is an easy and responsible way to deal with our food waste and help reverse climate change. Plus it builds amazing soil to boot from which we can grow and eat our own food. Grow, eat, compost, repeat. What could be better?
What is the 1 mistake people make when composting?
Not giving it a crack! Composting can be intimidating. Like everything, composting is perfected through practice, but you don't need to be perfect and contrary to popular belief, the rules are pretty simple. My mantra is: just get your hands dirty! The more you get out and just do it, the more you'll understand the process and the more proficient you'll become.
I live in an apartment, how can I compost?
I recommend one of three ways: 1) get yourself an urban worm farm. They are compact and can be kept on a deck, in a garage, in your laundry, or anywhere you want to get up close and personal with your worms; 2) Take it to your local community garden. Our cities are dotted with community gardens that often have compost hubs attached. It's a great way to manage your organic waste and get involved in community; 3) download the Sharewast app. Sharewaste is a platform for people who have food scraps and people who run compost systems to find one another.
We know that you can compost with food scraps and yard waste, but what about the clothes we wear?
You can compost any natural fibres, so yes you can compost clothing as long as it made from 100% natural fibre. Lots of people ask me about the risk of dyes, but modern dyes are nothing to worry about when returning it to the soil. Avoid synthetic fibres - they will not be broken down and run the risk of leaching microplastics into the soil. It's also really important to note that composting clothes should only be attempted if the clothing has reached the end of its wearing life. If it's still good to wear, either wear it, or give it to someone else to wear it!
At Bamboo Body, we consider the entire life cycle of a product from the materials used to the way the garment will be worn and then disposed of. Bamboo is a natural resource that is compostable - and it doesn’t take long to break down either! We’re so excited to be partnering with The Worm Monger to explore the composting process of Bamboo Clothing. In our next blog, Hannah will demonstrate how to compost your clothing, featuring samples from our Australian Made collection. These pieces are made of a bamboo and organic cotton blend and are accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia. We are looking forward to seeing the process!
In the meantime, follow The Worm Monger on Instagram @the_worm_monger, visit her website www.thewormmonger.com and read her ebook Compost Happens - Your Guide To Building And Maintaining A Worm Farm That’s The Sh!t