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Compost/Waste

Residents of the OHIO Ecohouse are encouraged to reduce their landfilled waste as much as possible.  This can be difficult for many people, so we begin with the 3Rs of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  But, through composting, residents can take the third "R" a step further.

 

Reduce:  Source Reduction is the most important behavior in reducing landfilled waste.  Residents are asked to think critically about their purchasing power.  By analyzing whether or not a purchase is needed, we can easily reduce the amount of products we buy and, in turn, the packaging those items come in.

 

Reuse: In the case where a product is deemed necessary, reuse is a necessary practice.  Residents are asked to get creative with their reuse efforts by donating unneeded items to thrift stores, using boxes from packaging for storage or class projects and much more.  It's important for us to creatively use the items in our lives in order to ensure the products are being used to their fullest ability.

 

Recycle: Once an item reaches the end of its life, it is important to responsibly dispose of the items.  Many households, including the Ecohouse, recycle plastics, paper, glass and aluminum.  Weekly road-side pick-up is offered to our residents for such recycling practices.  Additionally, residents compost organic wastes such as food scraps and landscape waste.

 

Composting is a process where organic matter decomposes at an accelerated rate. This is different from biodegrading because composting is accelerated due to a higher temperature and controlled environment.  This is an aerobic process that requires the correct carbon to nitrogen ratio for proper breakdown to occur.  Composting is temperature dependent and determines the speed at which the material breaks down.  The Ecohouse is home to three different composting systems:

  • Barrel Composter: Residents collect their kitchen scraps in a small bin in the house, empty that bin into a larger barrel, combine it with "brown waste" (such as newspaper or landscape waste) and then occasionally spin the barrel to aerate the contents.  The resulting material is a nutrient-rich compost amendment that is used on the Ecohouse landscape instead of petroleum-based fertilizers. 
  • Worm Composting:  A worm composting system is located in the basement of the Ecohouse. The framework for the system consists of a series of bins stacked vertically in which the worms reside. As they process the food waste and turn it into compost, they travel vertically through the bins. Moist newspaper is added to the bins in order to stabilize moisture for the worms. Residents add half of a pound of food per pound of worms.
  • Heap Composting: The Ecohouse Community Garden features a heap composting unit for the gardeners to utilize.  This is a simple open-air, three-bin system made out of used wood pallets.  Gardeners are asked to use this composter for their unwanted/spoiled food and plant clippings.  Weeds are dried by the sun on a tarp prior to being placed in the bins to avoid contamination of invasive species.

All three of the above options are viable options for any home composter.  Supplies can be found locally.