Composting 101: What is composting all about?

Compost bin

The City Council, in another effort to make the city of Austin even greener, recently announced that all fast food spots, chain restaurants, and large food establishments in Austin must start composting their food scraps and other compostable materials by 2016.  Restaurants that are considered small businesses will be required to begin composting by 2017.

According to an article in the Austin-American Statesman, food scraps and other compostable materials make up about 40-50% of a food establishment’s waste.  This is obviously a huge step in helping to eliminate waste in our great city.

What exactly is compost?  A collection of fruit and veggie peels, food scraps, coffee grounds, used paper towels, leaves, grass trimmings, etc. that are placed in a bin or outside in a specially prepared area.  By the miracle of nature, over the course of weeks and months, it turns into a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your lawn, your potted plants, and/or your garden.


Here are 5 reasons why composting is important:                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Garden

1.  It reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfills.

2.  It reduces the amount of methane that is produced by those food products going to landfills.  Methane contributes to global warming.

3.  It creates an amazing fertilizer.

4.  It improves your garden by helping your plants produce better fruits, veggies, and flowers.

5.  It improves your soil.  Sprinkle it all over your lawn and you will be surprised at what it does.


What do you need to get started?

A compost bin or a designated spot in your backyard, a pitchfork or shovel, water, and some scrap items.  Here is a short and simple how-to.

What if you live in an apartment or do not have a yard or a garden?

You can still compost!  There are many cool apartment-sized bins that can go right under your kitchen sink.  Check out these recommendations.

What can you compost? 

Good question!  You’d be surprised at what you can!  Here are 75 ideas to get you started.


compost bin 2







Composting is becoming more and more common.  It is a great, money-saving way to lessen your waste, better the environment, and help our planet.  Give it a shot!  It’s a lot easier than you might think.


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