Discounted compost bins available in Eau Claire: turn waste into - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Discounted compost bins available in Eau Claire: turn waste into fertilizer

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - It's official, at least on the calendar: spring has sprung, which means gardening is just a rake and a shovel away. For those who like to get their hands dirty on budget, free fertilizers is as easy as reuse and recycle.

Composting brings scraping your plate to the next level.

"Anything that can break down quickly can go in a compost pile," Laurelyn Sandkamp of the UW Extension office says.

We're not just talking fruits and vegetables but coffee filters and egg cartons too. In composting terms: a nice mix of the greens and the browns.

"The greens are nitrogen-rich materials, so your food scraps. And the browns are your carbons. So, that's things like wood chips, and brush from your yard and leaves," Sandkamp says.

Compost bins can be bought, buried or even built.

"If you have welded wire, you can make a circle in your yard and put your compost in there. You can also build a frame out of concrete blocks just on three sides, or four. You can also do old pallets, I've seen that before," Sandkamp says.

Once that's done, just add your food and yard waste, stir, and give nature a few months, or years, to do the rest.

"When you finish, what you have is this nutrient-rich, natural fertilizer. That's part of why composting can save you so much money. You're taking materials that you already have and you're making something that a lot of people would buy for their garden. You're improving its ability to hold water which is important because then you need to water less frequently because the soil can hold it in better. It improves the nutrients which plants love, it helps them grow more vigorously and faster and maybe even taste better," Sandkamp says.

Another bonus: the fertilizers, or what composters call ‘Black Gold' naturally suppresses weeds. But even if you're not a gardener, that doesn't mean composting isn't for you.

"It can be as easy or as involved as you want it to be. Literally, if you just want to have a pile and just add your food scraps to it and do nothing else, that's composting," Sandkamp says.  

If composting is done right, the UW Extension says there shouldn't be an odor but if you're worried about attracting animals, enclosed compost bins are easy to find. In fact, Eau Claire County's recycling program is offering discounted compost bins from a statewide bulk sale. The bins will arrive in a few weeks but reserving one is recommended. To reserve a bin, call (715) 839-2756 and leave your name, phone number and the number of bins you'd like.

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