Composting has grown in popularity as more people look to be more environmentally friendly. There are several different ways to compost, and one of the easiest is through a process called black garbage bag composting. Most of what you will need can be found around the house, so you don’t need to spend very much if you’re simply casually interested.
Black garbage bag composting is where you fill a black garbage bag with fallen leaves to compost. With a handful of other ingredients thrown in, you then seal the bag and let the materials mix and the contents decompose. After approximately a year’s time, the compost should be ready for use.
All this sounds pretty easy and cheap to do. It really is. If you’re interested in learning more about how to get started and what details you need to know, please read on.
As the name suggests, you’ll need black garbage bags. I’d recommend double bagging to avoid contents spilling out should the bags split open over the course of time and exposure to the weather elements. Any 30 gallon sized garbage bags will work.
Another option is to use contractor trash bags. These kinds of bags are heavy-duty and are used to hold construction debris. Because they’re more durable, they are less prone to spillage. Here’s a contractor trash bag from Amazon.
The primary material that will be composted is leaves. Because of this, you’ll find autumn is the perfect time to start on this project. Fallen leaves will be plentiful. You’ll probably be raking and disposing of them anyways. Why not put them to better use through composting.
Try shredding the leaves or collecting leaves that are more dried out. It will be less work during the decomposition process. Fill the garbage bags about 3/4 full.
Nitrogen microbes are required for the composting process to begin. You can use nitrogen fertilizer or animal manure. Put a shovel’s amount into the bag of leaves.
Throwing soil into the bag mix will help create an environment conducive for the nitrogen microbes to do their work.
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Just a quart or two of water is needed. Pour it in and mix along with the other contents in the bag.
Deciding Between Anaerobic or Aerobic Composting
After filling the black garbage bags with the ingredients mentioned above, you have to then decide how you want to compost the material. There are two processes: anaerobic or aerobic. Anaerobic composting does not require oxygen. Aerobic requires oxygen. Note the following advantages and disadvantages in both.
For those that want no oversight during the composting process, the anaerobic way will appeal to you. Just tightly seal the garbage bags up so that no oxygen can enter and let time pass. The decomposed material will be ready in about one year’s time.
You might consider anaerobic composting if you have plants that grow better with acidic compost. Because of the conditions that are set with no oxygen, a very acidic environment is produced.
So the advantage is there’s little maintenance and effort required on your part. There’s a couple of disadvantages and they are that the process takes quite some time to finish and that heat and methane gas are produced. Methane gas is smelly.
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Black garbage bag composting using the aerobic way requires oxygen. So people doing it this way will need to make holes in the bag to let oxygen in. Use a screwdriver and poke just enough holes to provide adequate ventilation but not enough for the contents to spill out.
You’ll need to check on the bag every week or two and turn it so that things don’t settle too much and oxygen is being churned throughout the mix. After 6-8 weeks you might find the material inside fully composted.
The advantages of this process are that the decomposition is a lot faster and there are no smelly gases that are produced. The disadvantage is that it requires some work.
What to Compost?
Do Use Household Waste “Brown Material” : Fruits and vegetables, egg boxes, egg shells, houseplants, tea bags, newspaper, coffee grounds and filters, paper towels and paper bags, hair, boxes, firewood ash and so on. Brown materials are the source of carbon in the compost, they also help the air get into the compost better and add bulk to the compost.
Do Use Garden Waste “Green Material” : Yard trimmings (which are high in nitrogen) and fallen leaves (which are a good source of carbon), dead flowers, weeds, saw dust, horse or rabbit manure, straw, hay and so on. Since leaves last longer before they decompose, they make for the best compost. Green material are the source of nitrogen in the compost, which supply most of the nutrients which would make the compost good for your soil, plants and garden.
ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on 2020-01-03.
Don’t Use: Coal, charcoal ash, dairy products, bones from meat or fish, waste from pets like dogs or cats, yard trimmings (if treated with pesticides that contain chemicals), magazines, glossy paper, nuts, cooked food, insect-ridden or disease filled plants, twigs, black walnut tree leaves, oils, grease, fats, lard, pasta and so on.