Composting 101: Putting Kitchen Scraps to Good Use

By Kasia Broussalian

Two women empty out their recent food scraps, plant remains, wood chips, etc, into compost bins outside of the Greenmarket at Union Square in New York City. Hosted by the Lower East Side Ecology Center, volunteers place compost bins on the northeast side of the market every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The decomposition of these biodegradable materials creates a nutrient-rich soil that is excellent to use in household plants and gardens.  On average, New Yorkers throw out two pounds of food per day, amounting to over 3,000 pounds that then must be trucked to landfills. Once at the landfill, biodegradable materials breakdown in the absence of oxygen to create methane. Methane gas, along with the transportation, impacts climate change. Do you compost? If not, what would it take to get you started?