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Why should I recycle my food scraps and compost?

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  Composting adds nutrients, moisture and carbon to the soil and helps plants grow. Compost reduces waste requiring disposal and reduces greenhouse gas emission. Composting recycles nutrients and organic matter for plants. Composting saves money in avoided disposal costs and reduced purchases of soil amendments. It’s empowering, fascinating and fun to make your own “Black Gold,” and it can be made in as little as 2 months.

  You can buy ready-made compost bins or make your own out of wood pallets, cinder blocks or wire fencing. A compost bin should be at least 3 feet wide x 3 feet long x 3 feet deep. Make sure that air can get in and around your bin, including the bottom.

  Most of the work is done with the help of microorganisms like bacteria, beetles, earthworms and centipedes that break down your scraps and waste. You need a mix of browns and greens. Browns include material such as fall leaves, straw, salt marsh hay, shredded paper and cardboard; newspaper, paper towels, paper plates, paper bags, chipped brush, sawdust and pine needles. Greens include grass clippings, weeds not laden with seeds, vegetable and fruit wastes, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags and manure from horse, cow, rabbit, chicken, and goat.

  Mix browns on the bottom layer and alternate with greens. Keep the pile damp like a sponge and aerate. The more you turn your pile, the quicker it will break down. For best results and to keep out odor and pests, do not add meat, bones, grease, oils, peanut butter, dairy, diseased plants, weeds gone to seed or dog or cat waste.

  A lot of this information can be found on the MassDEP website.

  SAVE, the “Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment,” is a nonprofit organization with the goal to promote a better quality of life in Saugus through environmental action. Incorporated in 1973, SAVE has had an eventful history supporting the preservation of the wildlife, water bodies, open spaces and other natural resources throughout Saugus. Together, SAVE members engage in events and programs throughout town, contributing to a caring and engaged community. Aiming to support the long-term well-being of our dynamically and diverse ecosystems, SAVE also seeks to reduce/eliminate pollution and spread awareness about environmental topics. Learn more about SAVE at https://saugussave.wordpress.com

  SAVE will have a regular column every few weeks; we will do our best to answer questions we are often asked. If you have a question for us to answer, please send your question to Co-Presidents Ann Devlin at adevlin@aisle10.netor Stephanie Shalkoski at stephaniems@gmail.com.

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