From filth to fertilizer: A composting lesson from Sanitation Services
Dallas Sanitation Services wants you to know: composting can help make our city greener. Composting reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, protects waterways, conserves water and saves landfill space. At least 30 percent of what goes into the City’s landfill is compostable kitchen and yard waste.
The good news is we can help eliminate this waste with a backyard composting bin or indoor vermicomposting bin. Backyard composting is the process of converting materials normally considered to be trash like leaves, grass clippings and food waste, into rich soil for a yard or garden.
Composting is nature’s way of recycling; no complex tools are required. A compost bin can be made out of old pallets, chicken wire, even cinder blocks. There are several methods of composting that may appeal to different people. Even apartment dwellers with no yard or garden can get involved.
“If apartment residents are looking for a way to compost indoors or in small spaces, vermicomposting is perfect,” said Sanitation Services Coordinator Murray Myers. “It involves taking your vegetable trimmings, non-citrus fruit waste, egg shells and shredded paper and placing it in a worm bin for Red Wigglers to digest.” These bins can be stored in closets or living room corners because they do not smell and produce rich nutrients and beneficial microbes.
Bokashi is a Japanese form of composting that also be done indoors, using any food waste, including meat and dairy and can be built for less than $8. Food waste and Bokashi bran (small pellets with microbes) are placed inside two buckets and it’s sealed until the food breaks down.
Another inexpensive way to help make the city greener is to plant native trees, shrubs and grasses which use less water, fertilizers and pesticides. Imported plants provide little benefit to native wildlife because they don’t provide the same nutrients like acorns, berries, etc. that Texas wildlife needs.
To learn more about composting visit http://dallascityhall.com/departments/sanitation/Pages/composting.aspx.