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Breaking down organic waste, as opposed to dumping it in the trash is a win-win.
To get started, we took some advise from Darby Hoover, A San Fransisco-based senior resource speicalist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s really never been easier to turn scraps into a soil enriching substance.

Backyard Compost Bin

In the backyard:

Set up a compost container, about 24 inches in diameter, in a convenient spot. Toss in “greens” (aka fresh food waste, like carrot tops and other vegetable trimmings) and coffee grounds or tea and then add “browns” (dry yard trimmings, dead leaves) in a 1 to ratio. Keep the brown on the top. This will keep the odor and the pests out.

This is where we come in. Paper absorbs excess moisture and will provide short-term air pockets to aid in the circulation. Why are air pockets important? Oxygen is an important ingredient because the composting microbes need it to do their job. But make sure you shred and/or tear your paper, no big clumps that will stick together in a damp mass. Adding paper in as part of your “brown” component, helps the carbon-nitrogen balance proportioned.

Turn your compost weekly. Use a shovel to swap the bottom part with the top, then cover with more browns. Overall, the mx should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Your compost will be finished in a few months, when it is a uniformly blackish brown appearance.

For the urban composter there are stylish counter-top compost bins that make the job small work.

Kitchen compost bin

According to, small at-home compost bins are seeing an uptick.
In the kitchen bins solve the problem by corralling your scraps, controlling odors and make it easy to remember to be more conscious of your waste. They are a single use device for collecting eggshells, coffee grounds and more. There are many to choose from. Most have activated charcoal filters to effectively reduce odors.

Please note: There are also some papers that shouldn’t be recycled or composted such as glossy magazines and foil wrapping paper. These types of paper have strong dyes, heavy inks and other printing chemicals that make them unsuitable.

What about paper with pen, or marker ink or dyes on it? If the ink used is vegetable-based, soy-based or non-toxic, then it's safe for the compost. If the paper is covered with heavy or potentially-toxic inks, whether it's from a printer, Sharpie, or ballpoint pen, it's generally not advisable to compost great amounts of these, and you are safe to just recycle them instead, according to NationSwell.  

Behrens Composting Product

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