• Gabriella Mendoza

Zero Waste Made Easy

Hi friends! Today we want to give you a quick tutorial on how to make your own composting system. This was extremely easy and completely FREE! I have been planning on making this for years, as I have been waiting to own a home with a space for gardening. Six months ago, I bought a home with my fiance! We finally had enough material to make this with zero costs and it turned out amazing! We will update this blog post with pictures of our first ready-to-use batch as it decomposes and becomes available to use in our garden.

Step 1: Materials

- Three milk crates

- Metal or plastic mesh/weed barrier fabric (breathable material)

- Scissors

- Hot glue gun

- Wood

- Organic waste to begin composting with

*Please note: We have found all these materials around the house. For instance, I had several crates full of books that were being stored before we moved so once they got emptied into our bookshelves, the crates became available. Since we already had all of these materials, it was free for us. However, if you purchase these items at a store like a thrift store, you can find them all very affordably!

Step 2: Assemble

First, get your milk crates in order with how you would like them to be stacked. You can color code them if you find it makes things easier for you. The idea is to rotate the containers in the process, so if you forget which one was rotated, color coding or labeling A,B, and C might be ideal for you.

Cut your breathable material into strips that will easily fit inside, around each edge of the crate. Hot glue these strips to each part of the crate's edges.

Place two layers of newspaper in the bottom of each crate (if your crates don't have holes in the bottom, you'll have to cut a few). You'll need too layers to keep the compost from falling through to the next crate.

Stack your prepared crates how will want them to begin the process in an area of your yard that gets frequent sunlight and is near soil that you'll want to use for your garden. Place a piece of wood (or another flat, hard-surfaced object) on top of the crates to act as a lid, you can add a handle to it if you want but we chose not to.

Step 3: Now you are ready to begin composting!

We have an old coffee container underneath our sink that we use to fill up with organic waste before bringing it outside. To keep it from collecting too much moisture, we've poked holes into the top. Below, you'll see some suggestions of things to put inside your waste matter and things to avoid adding, we found this information here: https://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/making/what-to-use/.

Compost Suggestions:

- Shredded newspaper, receipts, paper bags, etc (any non-glossy paper)

- Tissues, paper toweling, and cotton balls — unless soaked with bacon fat, kerosene, makeup, or other stuff that doesn’t belong in the pile!

- Cardboard, egg cartons, toilet rolls

- Used clothes, towels, and sheets made from natural fabrics — cotton, linen, silk, wool, bamboo

- Old string & twine made of natural fabrics

- Pine needles

- Pine cones

- Saw dust

- Wood chips

- Nut shells

- Twigs

- Old, dry pasta

- Nut shells

- Corn cobs

- Pits from mangos, avocados, peaches, plums, etc.

- Toothpicks, wine corks

- Leaves

- Grass clippings

- Brush trimmings

- Manure (preferably organic)

- Any non-animal food scraps: fruits, vegetables, peelings, bread, cereal, coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves and tea bags (preferably minus the staples)

- Old winePet bedding from herbivores ONLY — rabbits, hamsters, etc.

- Dust from sweeping and vacuuming

- Dryer lint

- Old herbs and spices

What to avoid:

- Pet droppings, especially dogs & cats

- Animal products — meat, bones, butter, milk, fish skins

- Raspberry & blackberry brambles

- Long twigs or big branches

The original source of these plans can be found here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Milkcrate-Composter-vertically-stacked/

Good luck and have fun!! We can't wait to see the results we get in our garden. If you try this out, please post your pictures too so that we can see them! We are so eager to spread more information about practicing a zero waste lifestyle and how easy it is - we hope everyone catches onto this!


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