How to Compost in the City: Urban Composting Tips

Even if you live in a city, you can still cut back on waste and help the environment by composting your kitchen scraps. Many city dwellers are composting at home using worms or tapping into city-run programs to keep organic waste out of the trash. The resulting compost helps keep plants strong and healthy. Compostable organic matter makes up around 14% of the solid waste stream nationwide*. This is a huge waste of material that could be composted and turned into “black gold” for plants. Food rotting in a landfill stinks because it is being broken down by anaerobic bacteria. Methane, a flammable gas, is given off by the anaerobic process and can create air pollution and fire hazards at landfills. Some of the problems with composting kitchen scraps in a city are: Limited or no land to put an outdoor composter on Apartment and condo rules regarding rooftop and balcony use Comfort and safety of neighbors – avoiding nuisances City ordinances that may limit or prohibit outdoor composting Logistics and cost of large composting programs However, cities and their inhabitants are finding creative ways to recycle their organic matter that overcomes these problems. Indoor Composting Many of these composting problems are addressed by individual households setting up a healthy indoor composting program. The most popular method of indoor composting uses worms to break down organic matter quickly. It’s called “vermicomposting.” After a while, maintaining an indoor worm composting system becomes second nature, like cleaning dirty dishes. And, it takes …

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Worms and Gray Water Purification

Gray water is basically the wastewater that flows out of the drains of your house. For health reasons, there are often local, regional or state restrictions on how it can be used. In general, untreated grey water should not be used. When gray water does not go to municipal waste treatment facility, there are three typical ways to treat gray water:   a gray water system (with a filtration tank and transpiration beds) an Aerated Water Treatment System (AWTS) a standard septic system.   Gray Water System Details Generally it is not permissible to reuse toilet wastewater for health reasons. So a gray water system must be used in conjunction with a waterless composting toilet or a septic system. A kitchen sink grinder unit is also recommended. The first step of the non-toilet gray water system involves passing the water through a grease trap. This filters out basic fats from the kitchen water and lint from the washing machine water. The water then passes through a filtration tank, which is less than 1 cubic yard in size, and consists of a pine bark coarse filter on top of a bio-mass filter. You can obtain this coarse pine bark from your local nursery. The coarse pine bark filter removes the large particles and any remaining fat molecules from the kitchen wastewater. You can add worms to this pine bark layer to hasten the breakdown of particles in the wastewater. The material filtered by this layer and the pine bark itself will …

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How to Safely Can Vegetables for Long-Term Storage

Canning vegetables is a great way to build home food storage and do it cheaply and safely – and you can use your home grown vegetables all year round! Canning vegetables can be a slightly time consuming process – depending on how many cans you want – and is also a risky undertaking if you aren’t sure what you are doing. However, once you know how to safely can, you will be hooked forever! Canning vegetables needs to be done very carefully. If not done properly, germs and bacteria will grow – germs that can make you sick or even be deadly.Botulism is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to at home canning. The bacteria that cause botulism is found in soil, and can grow and produce toxins within sealed jars. The only protection against this bacteria is through the heat that is applied when canning. One key part of canning is this – it was once considered acceptable to use boiling water as a safe way to can vegetables. This is not true. The only way to ensure safe canning processes is by using a pressure cooker. Low acid vegetables (which includes all vegetables except for tomatoes) are the most likely to contain the botulism bacteria. This bacteria can only be killed at a temperature of 240 degrees, where boiling water only reaches a temperature of 212 degrees. When beginning the canning process only select fresh, young vegetables. Wash the vegetables in cool, running water and avoid …

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