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Composting!

From Garbage To Your Garden!

Compost is the single most important supplement you can give your garden soil.

With compost, you are creating rich humus for your lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.

Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can and offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.

Composting is free, good for the environment, and explained by this simple formula:

Air + Water + Carbon + Nitrogen = Compost


  • Air. Like most living things, the bacteria that decompose organic matter, and the other creatures that make up the compost ecosystem, need air. Compost piles need spaces for air to flow. Occasionally turning your pile moves new material into the center, and helps improve airflow into the pile.
  • Water. Compost microbes also need the right amount of water. Too much moisture reduces airflow, causes temperatures to fall, and can make the pile smell; too little water slows decomposition and prevents the pile from heating.
  • Carbon ingredients. The microbes that break down organic matter use carbon as an energy source. The most common high-carbon ingredients are leaves, straw, and corn stalks. These ingredients are called browns.
  • Nitrogen ingredients. Microbes need nitrogen for the proteins that build their tiny bodies. Ingredients high in nitrogen are generally green, moist plant matter, such as leaves, or an animal by-product, such as manure. These ingredients are called greens.

Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio
The secret to a healthy compost pile is to maintain a working balance between these two elements. A healthy compost pile should have much more carbon than nitrogen. A simple rule of thumb is to use two-thirds brown and one-third green materials. If in doubt, add more carbon!

Once your compost pile is established, add new materials by mixing them in. Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion.

A new composting bin is now available through the City of Torrance Public Works Department


The Envirocycle mini composting bin is great for small areas like patios. Comes fully assembled Spins in place on its own base for aeration. Made with a high percentage of Post-Consumer and Post-Industrial recycled plastic (BPA Free).

Go to Envirocycle.com for more information about the bin.

To purchase ($70 each, Torrance residents only, cash or check only), contact Public Works at 310-781-6900

Reduce Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint!

Remember to Scoop that Poop!

The truth is, owning a medium size dog can potentially be just as bad as owning a gas guzzling car. Unscooped poop gets carried by overland water contaminating our waterways. The U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that pet waste can spread parasites including hookworms, ringworms, tapeworms, and Salmonella. When infected dog poop comes into contact with your lawn, the poop will eventually “disappear”, but the parasite eggs can linger for years!

Cats aren’t off the hook either! Two million tons of cat litter gets sent to landfills each year, and most of it is not biodegradable.

It’s important to consider your pet’s carbon pawprint!

Here are a couple of tips on lowering your pet’s environmental impact:

  • Using biodegradable doggie bags to scoop your pet’s poop.

  • Green your kitty by using biodegradable litter made from sawmill scrap, waste from wheat or corn, or even recycled tires.

Do you know of other ways to reduce your pet’s pawprint? Feel free to share them in the comments section!

Reuse!!

Reuses for Rubber Bands

Stop carelessly tossing rubber bands and start reusing them with the help of these inspirational ideas.

We each accumulate a fair number of rubber bands. They are wrapped around our mail, the broccoli we buy in stores or at farmers markets, the newspapers delivered to our homes and many other everyday items. Rubber bands are not compostable or recyclable, but don’t throw them away because they can be reused.

One of the most innovative ways to reuse rubber bands is rubber band lamps (see above). Made by Bath, England-based Orchard Studio, these lamps are created from reclaimed rubber bands and are cool and colorful.

Another designer, Christiane Diehl of Hanover, Germany, reuses rubber bands to make rubber band jewelry (right).

Here are some ideas you can use at home for reusing your rubber bands:

  • The United States Postal Service (USPS) reuses rubber bands. You can leave them out for your mail carrier or take them with you the next time your visit your local post office. You can even bundle them and drop them into any blue USPS-designated mailbox.
  • Wrap a rubber band or two around the lid of a jar to make a stubborn lid easier to open.
  • Keep a desk drawer more organized by using rubber bands to wrap around pencils, pens, markers and crayons.
  • Keep your sewing basket better organized by wrapping rubber bands around your spools of thread to keep them from unraveling and tangling up.
  • When mixing up cake, pancake or muffin batter, wrap a rubber band around the top of the handle of your spoon to stop if from slipping into the mixing bowl.
  • Secure rubber bands around the shoulder areas of a hanger to help keep clothing from sliding off the hanger.
  • This rubber band maternity trick helped me through two pregnancies. Continue using your jeans throughout your pregnancy by threading a rubber band through your jeans buttonhole and then around the button.

Do you know of other rubber band reuse ideas? Feel free to share them in the comments section!