SACRAMENTO — Community members are getting a hands-on lesson on how their old banana peels and leftover lettuce can be beneficial for the environment.
Diane Stratigos wants to plant a garden to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in her own backyard, and now she's participating in a free program offered by the City of Sacramento that teaches people how to create compost at home.
"I'll learn how to compost and compost my new garden," she said.
The natural composting process breaks down organic material and ends up with nutrient-rich soil that is perfect food for plants.
"It just helps your garden be a lot more successful, reduces the need to water — lots of really great benefits," said Jesa David, a spokesperson for Sacramento Recycling and Solid Waste.
A new state law requires cities to divert 75% of food waste and other organic material from landfills to reduce methane emissions. Creating compost piles is one way to achieve this goal.
"Rather than generating all that methane, which is a toxic greenhouse gas, it gets turned into something good instead and reduces space in the landfill," David said.
The classes teach people what kinds of things can be composted, including some unexpected items like dryer lint and human hair.
"Even things like coffee filters and tea bags can go in there," David said.
But there are some items that still must go in the green waste bin.
"You don't want to put things like spoiled food or leftovers," David said. "It might attract vermin."
There are also tips for stopping any foul smells.
"You can use paper to encase the food scraps, you can use compostable plastic bags," David said. "There's different ways to help mitigate and help reduce that odor."
Stratigos says she's now ready to start putting her food scraps to good use.
"It's good for the environment," she said.
The City of Sacramento is offering several other free composting classes over the next few weeks.
- 6 – 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Sojourner Truth Community Garden (7365 Gloria Drive).
- 8 – 9 a.m. and 9 – 10 a.m. Oct. 14 at Southside Community (Garden, 2226 5th St.).
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