Tales from a composting junkie

Seven quick tips on reducing your household garbage waste.

Credit: Flickr / white cat city

New convert to composting kicks household waste to the curb and offers her tips and tricks for making composting easy


I am a newbie to the world of composting. I have always wanted to try it, have envied those who do it and have wondered what difference it makes on garbage day. Recently, I put my excuses aside, grabbed a metal bowl and started to take advantage of Vancouver’s new curbside composting program. I have joined the ranks of composters. And I like what I see.

A composting fanatic

At first, I wasn’t too sure what I could toss into bin. Were chicken bones OK? How about cotton balls? Could I toss in my nail clippings? Luckily, the bin came complete with a composting informational booklet (PDF) that explained what was acceptable and what was not. I keep my handy compost bible on my fridge, ready to use should a questionable product arise.

I have become somewhat fanatical about composting. I like to see results. You see, in my darker, pre-composting days, I had a lot of garbage on pickup day: my bin was always full, and sometimes even overflowed. The shame! Today, my garbage bin is typically only half full. Why? Composting.

It’s not hard. In fact, it’s easier than I imagined. All I did was set up a few systems to make composting as easy and as natural as, say, putting an item in the garbage! And here are some tricks to help get you started.

Tips and tricks for easy composting at home


1. Put a pail for compost on your kitchen counter, right beside where you chop your food. Easy to pitch scraps into.

2. Keep a composting pail in the washroom to make it easy to toss in the tissue paper, nail clippings, and loose hair.

3. Place a pail in your laundry room. After each load is finished, chuck the dryer lint in (but don’t put dryer sheets in there–they are not accepted in the compost).

4. Designate a compost pail for outside use—kids can put popsicle sticks in it, parents can use it for food scraps after a barbecue. You can also place your woodchips and sawdust in there, too.

5. Keep your compost in the fridge when the weather gets really hot. The flies can’t find it in there.

6. Heading out for the day? Bring along a paper bag to hold all compostable materials from throughout your day. Once home, lob the bag and all its contents into the compost bin.

7. Dreading the smell from your compost pail and bins? Line it with newspaper, which will absorb smells and is compostable. Otherwise, baking soda absorbs the odours, and vinegar and lemon juice help mask them.


(For points 1–5, pails should be emptied into the compost bin on a regular basis).

I love composting. I love seeing the decrease in my garbage footprint. By doing this, I hope in some small way I am helping make this planet a better place for me and future generations.

To find out what items can and cannot be composted, visit www.vancouver.ca


Heather Lochner is a stay-at-home mother and a freelance writer. She loves combing the neighbourhoods of Vancouver to find locally owned shops and restaurants. Together with her two children, husband and dog, she lives aboard her sailboat in Vancouver. When not at work or school, the Lochners are out cruising the BC coast.