Check Out the GEOBIN® Composter in Action: Photos & Videos from the GEOBIN Photo Contest

Earlier this month, we launched the GEOBIN Photo Contest, and we asked you to share your photos and videos with us for a chance to win a new GEOBIN Composter. We were so impressed with the response that we selected not one, but TWO winners.

Thank you to everyone who submitted photos and videos!


Guide to Fall Composting

fall composting guide

The key to successful composting is maintaining a healthy balance of nitrogen-rich “green” material and carbon-rich “brown” material. For the GEOBIN® Composter, we recommend a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 3:1. During the winter, spring, and summer months, many people find themselves with plenty of “green” material, like food scraps and grass clippings, but they do not have enough “brown” material. Carbon is the energy source for the compost pile and gives the composting microorganisms life inside the compost bin. Without the presence of carbon to facilitate decomposition, food waste rots, causing smelly compost and unwelcome pests.

Fall is a great time to compost because there’s an abundance of both green and brown material to add to your bin. Between fall garden clean up and dry leaves, you’ll have plenty of carbon-rich organic material to keep your compost balanced.

 

Why You Should Compost

When food waste ends up in landfills, the lack of air in the environment causes the decaying matter to produce methane gas—a greenhouse gas roughly 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas.

In addition to carbon and nitrogen, a successful compost pile requires moisture and air. When you compost at home, you’re creating an ideal environment for organic waste to properly decompose. Composting helps the environment and provides you with nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden. Here are some tips to help guide you through your fall composting journey.

 

Fall Composting Tips

1. Compost Fall Leaves

As the days grow shorter and temperatures begin to drop, so will the leaves from deciduous trees. While it can be an unpopular chore to rake and collect fallen leaves, it helps to know that your compost will love them. Wait until they’re brown and dry, then layer them into your pile. Dry leaves are an excellent source of carbon for your compost. To avoid matting, add thin layers of grass clippings to your compost.

 

2. Store Dry Leaves to Add to Compost Later

It’s helpful to have a reserve of dry leaves to add to your compost during the months when it’s more difficult to source carbon-rich materials. You can store leaves in a dedicated bin and draw from it as needed. Like any organic matter, leaves will eventually start to break down, but this will take a long time without the presence of nitrogen.

 

3. A Healthy Garden Starts with Healthy Soil

As the growing season comes to an end, you’ll want to clean up your garden and get it ready for next year. Remove healthy plant material and add it to your compost bin. You should shred or break up the plant material into smaller pieces to facilitate decomposition. Unless you’re hot composting, you’ll want to avoid adding diseased plants to your bin. Those plants should be thrown away or burned, depending on what’s permitted where you live.

If you have finished or partially decomposed compost, add it to your empty garden bed before the ground freezes. We recommend using a garden fork to break up the soil, then adding a 3 to 4-inch layer of compost.

 

 

4. Monitor Moisture Levels of Your Compost

Increased rainfall during the fall months can cause your compost to get too wet. You want your compost pile to be moist, like a squeezed-out sponge. If it gets too wet, it will lack the aeration required to properly decompose the organic material and start to smell like rotten eggs. You can remedy this by mixing in more brown material to soak up excess moisture. We recommend dry leaves, cardboard, or sawdust.

5. Turn Jack-O’-Lanterns into Great Compost

Every year, 1 billion pounds of pumpkins get thrown away and end up in America’s landfills. Like other food waste, pumpkins left to rot in landfills will produce methane gas. Pumpkins are a great addition to your compost pile, so instead of tossing them in the trash, smash them up and incorporate them into your pile.

For more composting tips and tricks, check out our Guide to Backyard Composting.

Share Your Photos For a Chance to Win a New GEOBIN® Composter!

 

We’re launching a new website, and we need your help! We’re looking for photos of the GEOBIN® Composter to feature on our website and in our print and digital marketing promotions.

Each photo you submit will earn you one (1) entry, and each video will earn you five (5) entries. You can submit as many photos and videos as you would like, but there will be a maximum of 10 qualifying entries per person. One (1) winner will be randomly drawn from all qualifying entries.

The contest runs through Tuesday, Sept. 15.

General Requirements:

  • Photos and videos must include the GEOBIN Composter. We’re looking for photos of you actively using the GEOBIN; e.g. adding kitchen scraps/yard waste, turning the GEOBIN. We’d also love photos or video of you setting up the GEOBIN Composter.
  • Photos should be as large as possible (without enlarging) and can be either landscape and portrait orientation.
  • Photos should be JPEG or PNG.
  • Videos should be shot in landscape mode.
  • Please avoid including any other brand names or logos in the photo.

The Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited. Read the full Official Contest Rules.

The Benefits of Adding Urine to Your Compost

sprinkler watering garden

 

While not as taboo as composting bodies, adding urine to compost seems to be a divisive topic. We’ve recently received some questions from people asking whether it’s okay if their dog urinates on their compost, so we thought we’d delve into this topic a bit further. The only real difference between human urine and canine urine is that they come out of different species, so this information mostly applies to both.

First, let’s talk about the components of urine. Urine is an aqueous solution comprised of more than 95% water. Other constituents of normal urine include urea, chloride, potassium, sodium, creatinine and other dissolved ions, and inorganic and organic compounds. Urea—which is a waste product of metabolism that is excreted by the kidneys in urine—consists of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen.

What Makes Urine Good for Compost?

If you’re adding urine directly to plants, it could be harmful to them due to the high levels of nitrogen. If you’re a pet owner, you may have experienced this when your dog urinates on the lawn—it can often kill the grass in that spot if it’s not diluted with water soon after.

However, incorporating it into your compost will help avoid this direct contact and potential damage to plants. Because of its nitrogen content, the addition of undiluted urine to your compost bin reduces the time it takes for carbons to break down, resulting in finished composter sooner. It also increases the level of nutrients in the completed compost, which is beneficial to your garden. In addition to aiding decomposition and providing beneficial nutrients, urine can help you regulate moisture levels since it’s mostly water.

Composting Urine Helps the Environment

Every time you flush the toilet, you’re using a large amount of water to pull the waste away. Older toilets can use an average of three to five gallons of water per flush. Not only is this extremely wasteful, but it can be expensive, too.

In addition to using a lot of water, flushing urine into the sewer system doesn’t make it magically disappear. A lot of this wastewater goes untreated and introduced back into the environment where it can disrupt ecosystems.

If you can get past the stigma—and you have a practical collection system—composting urine can be very advantageous. Keep in mind, while urine is sterile, the human body can introduce undesirable bacteria into it. If you have a bladder infection or other illness, you may want to forego the “liquid gold” and stick to kitchen waste for your nitrogen needs.

Why You Have Smelly Compost & How to Fix It

 

We get this question from GEOBIN customers frequently: Should my compost bin smell bad? The answer is no—compost should smell earthy, like dirt, even when it’s actively decomposing food and other organic material.

Why Does My Compost Smell Bad?

Composting is all about maintaining a healthy balance of organic material and proper ventilation. When that balance gets thrown off or there’s not enough oxygen circulating, the contents of your bin will rot rather than properly break down into compost. When this happens, your compost pile may begin to smell unpleasant. The good news is there are ways to combat these offensive odors.

Why Your Compost Smells Like Ammonia

To effectively heat up and decompose, compost needs the right ratio of brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen) materials. For the GEOBIN Composter, we recommend a 3:1 ratio of browns to greens. Sources of carbon include dried leaves, twigs, cardboard, and sawdust, while nitrogen-rich materials include food scraps, grass clippings, and coffee grounds.

If you notice the smell of ammonia coming from your compost bin, it could mean that there’s too much green material. Balance your compost pile by adding some carbon-rich material. Carbon is the energy source for your compost—without it, your food waste will improperly decompose and release excess nitrogen in the form of ammonia

Reasons Your Compost Smells Like Rotten Eggs or Garbage

  • Your compost pile is too compacted or lacking oxygen: Composting is an aerobic process, which means it requires the presence of oxygen. If your compost pile becomes compacted, airflow will be restricted. You can correct this by mixing up the pile and adding some “fluffy” material, such as dried leaves. This will create air pockets throughout your compost pile which will provide the microorganisms with the oxygen required to break down the organic material.
  • Your compost is too moist: This is common in spring and fall when there’s an increase in rainfall. When your compost is too wet, it will lack the aeration required to properly decompose the organic material, causing the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs. Introducing more brown material will help soak up excess moisture and eradicate these bad smells.
  • Your compost pile is not layered properly: When layering your organic material, sometimes the greens can become isolated from the browns. If this happens, the green material will begin to rot and emit a foul smell. You can fix this by mixing up your pile so the browns and green work in unison to produce nutrient-rich fertilizer.
  • You added meat, fat, or dairy to your compost: These materials release putrid odors as they break down. They also attract unwanted pests, like rats and flies, so it’s best to avoid adding these to your composter.

If you follow these simple steps to maintain your compost pile, your garden and the environment will thank you.

Share Your Favorite Composting Tip for a Chance to Win a GEOBIN® Composter

 

Summer is officially here, and we’re giving away a free GEOBIN® Composter to celebrate!

 

We’re asking you to share one composting “hot tip.” In other words, what is one piece of advice that you think others would find most helpful? Whether you acquired this knowledge the hard way or just found something that really works for you, we’d love to hear it!

Giveaway runs on the GEOBIN Instagram page from 6/24/20 through 7/1/20. To earn one (1) entry, complete one of the following actions (up to 3 entries allowed per person):

  1. Share your tip in the comments of the Instagram Campaign post and tag two (2) friends.
  2. Post a photo of your GEOBIN to your Instagram, share your tip in the caption, and tag @GEOBINComposter.
  3. Post of video of you with your GEOBIN to your Instagram, share your tip in the video, and tag @GEOBINComposter.

 

Read the Official Giveaway Rules.

Learning to Reuse & Compost Lawn Clippings Through Trial & Error

Written By: Guest Blog Post

When we moved from an apartment into our home in the Midwest, one of the things I was most excited about was breaking out the lawnmower and cutting the grass. That might sound odd to some people, but I enjoy being outside and experiencing the instant gratification of mowing the lawn while getting in a few thousand steps on my fitness tracker.

Since it was an exceptionally wet spring, the grass grew quickly and could not be mowed often enough to keep up with it. When we were able to cut the grass, we found ourselves with an abundance of grass clippings. As an active composter, I’m always looking for organic material to add to our GEOBIN® Composters, so I collected the clippings to be incorporated into our compost. When left uncollected, yard waste can be washed into storm drainage systems where it can get clogged and lead to flooding.

My original plan was to add some grass clippings to my active GEOBIN Composter and the rest to our second GEOBIN that held dry leaves from the previous fall. I quickly discovered that freshly cut grass on its own turns into a smelly pile of green slime in no time at all, so I decided to switch to plan B—reduce the amount of grass clippings I saved. I alternated collecting the clippings with mulching, which helped return some of the nutrients directly to the lawn.

Composting Is All About Balance

While I don’t strictly adhere to the recommended ratio of browns (carbon) to greens (nitrogen) in our GEOBIN Composter (25-30:1), I did want to stay relatively close to that recipe to accelerate decomposition and discourage odors.

After some trial and error, I realized I needed more browns to keep our pile balanced, so I decided to dry out our grass clippings. My husband and I have a small garden area, so we spread out the freshly cut grass clippings to dry. Once the deep green color of the grass had faded to a light tan color, we lightly raked the area to expose the greener material underneath. Once the entire batch had dried out, we added it to our active GEOBIN Composter, as well as to our second GEOBIN with the dried leaves. This worked very well, and we continued the process through this season.

To learn more about maintaining a balanced compost bin, check out our blog, “Breaking It Down: A Beginner’s Guide to Composting.”

grass in garden

Breaking It Down: A Beginner’s Guide to Composting

 

The other day I was browsing social media when I scrolled to a post from a friend about grass clippings. He was asking for advice on what to do with them since the city landfill doesn’t accept yard waste. My first thought was, “compost them!” but he commented that he had “no use for compost.” That got me thinking. If you don’t have a garden or personal need for compost, why would you bother? And what other reasons are keeping people from joining the composting movement?

To answer this question, I thought back to my own experience before I started composting. For me, it came down to a lack of understanding the importance of composting, not just for my benefit, but for the environment. It was also an intimidating process for me since I knew so little about it, but it doesn’t have to be for you.

 

Let’s Start with the Basics: What is Compost?

Compost is decomposed organic matter that makes a great fertilizer for plants. The process of composting is an aerobic method, which means it requires the presence of air to decompose organic solid waste.

To work effectively, composting organisms require four equally important ingredients:

  1. Carbon (Browns): provides energy
  2. Nitrogen (Greens): assists in growing and reproducing more organisms to oxidize the carbon
  3. Oxygen: oxidizes the carbon, which facilitates the decomposition process
  4. Water: helps with decomposition and keeps the pile’s temperature regulated

 

Environmental Benefits of Composting

The benefits of composting go far beyond creating nutrient-rich fertilizer for your flower and vegetable gardens. Composting diverts organic waste from landfills, where it lacks the oxygen needed to safely decompose. When organic matter gets trapped in landfills, that lack of oxygen in the surrounding environment causes it to break down and release methane gas—a greenhouse gas roughly 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 22 percent of what goes into municipal landfills is food waste. Much of this organic material could be composted and returned to the earth. While not all food waste should be composted, a lot of what gets tossed in the trash could be added to your compost bin.

 

What Can You Compost?

  • Kitchen scraps such as vegetables, eggshells, fruit peelings, and coffee grounds
  • Garden and yard material such as grass clippings, leaves, annual plants, and vegetables
  • Manure from plant-eating animals only (NOT from household pets)
  • Cardboard (including the GEOBIN box)

 

What Shouldn’t You Compost?

  • Meat scraps can attract flies and maggots and slow down the composting process.
  • Dairy can attract unwanted pests.
  • Cooking oil can attract unwanted pests and upset the compost’s moisture balance.
  • Bread products can attract unwanted pests.

 

Maintaining a Balanced Compost Pile

When creating your compost, you want to maintain a ratio of 3 parts brown material to 1 part green material. This will ensure that you’ve got the right balance of carbon and nitrogen. Brown materials are rich in carbon and include straw/hay, wood chips, cardboard, and dry leaves. Green materials are rich in nitrogen and include grass clippings, coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, fruit and vegetable scraps, and trimmings from perennial and annual plants.

Layer your brown and green material and add water as necessary during drier times. If you begin to notice an unpleasant odor coming from your compost, that may mean you have too much nitrogen. This can be remedied by mixing in some dried leaves, straw, or another carbon-rich material you have on hand.

Depending on the type of compost bin you choose, you will periodically need to turn the pile to aid aeration.

The GEOBIN® Composting System Is Perfect for BeginnersGEOBIN Composter

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to start composting. With its easy, 3-step setup, the GEOBIN Composter is a great compost bin for beginners. The GEOBIN has excellent ventilation, which helps speed up decomposition with little effort.

The GEOBIN Composter is expandable up to 3.75 feet (216 gallons), allowing it to grow with your compost pile. It’s also the most affordable composting system on the market, allowing you to get started with a smaller investment.

 

Start your composting journey today.

Celebrate International Compost Awareness Week and You Could Win a GEOBIN® Composter

GEOBIN Giveaway

 

International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is May 3–9, 2020, and this year’s theme is “Soil Loves Compost.” ICAW, founded by the Composting Council Research and Education Foundation (CCREF), is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, but things look a bit different than years past. Due to COVID-19, in-person community events have been canceled, but you can still celebrate ICAW from home.

The CCREF compiled a helpful list of creative ways you can celebrate ICAW 2020. Ideas range from creating your own compost workshops via YouTube or Zoom to starting a Victory Garden.

We’ve decided to celebrate ICAW 2020 by giving away a free GEOBIN® Composter! To help spread the word about International Compost Awareness Week, we are hosting the giveaway on the GEOBIN Composter Instagram page and encouraging fellow compost enthusiasts to share a photo of their GEOBIN Composter in action. The contest runs from Tuesday, April 28 through Saturday, May 9, 2020. Click here to read the full giveaway rules.

 How to Enter (must complete all three steps to receive (1) entry):

  1. Follow @GEOBINComposter on Instagram. ​
  2. Like the giveaway post. ​
  3. Tag two friends in a comment on the giveaway post. ​

Bonus Entry: ​

  1. Share a photo of you with your GEOBIN Composter, tag @GEOBINComposter, and include #GEOBINGiveaway.​

 

GEOBIN Composter Coloring Contest

Are you looking for creative at-home learning opportunities to keep your kids engaged while schools are closed? Now is the perfect time to teach them about composting! Incorporating composting into your child’s curriculum will not only provide a valuable science lesson but will also teach them the importance of reducing waste and helping the environment.

Get started with our GEOBIN Composter Coloring Contest!

All participants will be entered into a drawing to win a GEOBIN Composter. Download the coloring page to get started. Once your child has finished their artwork, complete the entry form below for your chance to win.

Click Image to Download Coloring Page

 

 

 

 

 

Contest Rules

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