Composting STEM Talk
By Ava-Ray P.
The Science Academy hosted guest speaker Kenny D. from Tree People to talk about composting at home for our February 19th STEM Talk. There was great interest in the subject amongst the student body because of the ways composting can not only help create rich soil, but can be used to recycle food scraps and yard waste, thereby reducing landfill usage and the creation of greenhouse gases. Below is a summary on the topics covered during the STEM Talk as well as where you can get materials to start composting yourself.
First of all, what is composting? Composting is a mixture of various decaying organic substances, such as dead leaves or food waste, used for enriching soil. We can use composting to recycle food waste, which lessens its impact in landfills, and use it to fertilize plants to help them grow. With the right supplies and methods, you can create compost at home.
Creating compost is fairly simple. To start, you will need both “browns” and “greens”. Browns are materials like dried leaves, twigs, paper bags, torn newspaper, etc. They are the non- perishables. Greens are perishables like fruit and vegetable scraps, garden waste, etc. With a 50/50 combination of these materials, you can start composting!
You should also have the tools to start composting. The LADWP offers composting bins for you to start composting, (link) and you can get other supplies at most nurseries (link to local nursery). When you start to compost, you should layer the materials on top of each other. Starting with a first layer of twigs, and alternating layers of brown and green layers.
Composting can be surprisingly beneficial. It diverts waste away from landfills, and it adds microbes and nutrients to soil. Organic matter in landfills breaks into methane, a greenhouse gas. Sadly, 40% of the food we buy is wasted, with most of that going into landfills. If we use composting more and more, we can start to move our economy to a circular system, where we can make products, use them, and recycle/compost them to be used again.