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Dear Earth, I'm Sorry: Confessions of a non-composting, methane maker

The importance of composting and what benefits come from doing so.

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I have a confession to make, I'm not composting - at least not in the way that I know that I'm supposed to. I'm mulching my grass and all, but my orange peels and coffee grounds are still going down the drain or into the garbage.

It's not that I'm not aware of the benefits of composting, or that it's too much work. Like most people, I'm just too lazy and cheap to make the initial investment of time and money.

Don't get me wrong, I actually care about the waste I'm putting into the landfill - an issue that was hammered home during a recent visit to said landfill for a story about a new methane gas conversion project.

As I stood recently above the 250-foot hole, the rich scent of methane fumes hanging in the air, I couldn't help but think of all those coffee grounds and orange peels I'd chucked over the years.

So, I've decided to do something about it. As soon as it stops snowing, I'm building a composter. I've done the research. I know how easy it is.

And if I can do it, you can, too. I'm not going to pretend to tell you the best way to go about it, but I can say that there is a wealth of helpful information and step-by-step instructions on the Internet.

Here are a couple of helpful sites to get you and me started.

University of Missouri Extension Service

An information-rich site with instructions on how to build a variety of different composting systems, including three bin, worm, barrel and more.

http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G6957

Backyard Gardner

Great site with PDF links to detailed instructions and diagrams for compost bin construction. Includes plans for barrel composting, pallet systems, three bins, etc. It also includes a fun PBS-style YouTube video on the science of composting.

Eartheasy

A good overview of composting with some decent instructions on how to build a single bin system from palates or scrap wood.

http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost_bin_build.htm

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