Monday, August 23, 2010

Green book of the week: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting (and a giveaway!)

Today we have a book about one of the most significant and easy actions you can take to reduce your (food) carbon footprint.

Our book is:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting

Author: Chris McLaughlin

Chris McLaughlin is a master gardener and garden writer whose work has appeared in magazines such as Urban Farm Magazine and The Herb Companion. She also writes for several gardening websites, including Vegetable She's the feature writer for Vegetable Gardens at Suite 101, and is the San Francisco Gardening Examiner at Between garden writing assignments, Chris, teaches children gardening and plant science.

Publisher: Alpha

Published on: May 2010

What this book is about?
Waste not, want not.

The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to Composting takes readers step by step through the process of selecting the right compost container, filling it with the right "ingredients," maintaining the mix at the right temperature and humidity, and using the end product.

- A concise format, simplified approach, and thrift-conscious price Chris McLaughlin

- Author is a Master Gardener and an expert on all forms of composting

- Gardening has risen greatly in popularity in the last few years, with an added boost from first lady Michelle Obama, and so has composting, which is cheap, effective, and environmentally friendly

- Thousands of state, regional, and municipal programs have been developed to encourage composting and thus reduce landfill waste

What we think about it?

Following the controversial piece of Stephen Budiansky on the New York Times , entitled 'Math Lessons For Locavores', Kerry Trueman wrote an interesting reply on Huffington Post, where she quotes the New Scientist as followed:

"More energy is wasted in the perfectly edible food discarded by people in the US each year than is extracted annually from the oil and gas reserves off the nation's coastlines."

So food waste is definitely an issue, and if solution no. 1 is to look for ways to reduce this waste from the first place, solution no. 2 is to compost, which as "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting" explains reduces "the amount of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills or dumps". As Chris McLaughin writes in the introduction to this book, "the truth is that composting is about as simple as it gets." So if you're looking for meaningful yet easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint, composting can definitely be the thing for you.

Composting has so many advantages that you're just wondering how is it that not everyone is doing it. I believe that part of it is convenience, as people find it less convenient than throw their food leftovers to the trash, and part of it is just lack of awareness of the process and how easy and fun it is. Now, the first group who looks for convenience, probably needs more than just a guide and I guess only a sort of incentives program such as RecycleBank can get them into action. The second group on the other hand will find this book very valuable.

The book itself is well-organized, written in an easy to understand language and is full of details of every related issue, including my favorite one - warms (did you know you need about 1000 warms on average to start a compost bin?). It helps to figure out step by step how to start composting and you learn everything you need to know all the way from selecting a container to using the final product. The book even gives you an idea how to use the compost as a platform to help your community. I can tell you from experience that personal composting is nice, but sharing a compost bin with your neighbors is really fun!

Bottom Line: If you ever wondered what composting is all about and if it's for you, get this book!

Disclosure: We received a copy of this book from the publisher.


We're giving away our review copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher.

How you can win? Very simple. All you have to do is to add a comment with an answer to the following question: What you like most about composting (or if you're not there yet, what do you think you'll like most when you'll start)? We will have a raffle on Monday, August 30, 5:00PM EST between all the readers that will add their reply. The winner will be announced the following day.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!


Aytch Rae said...

I can't tell you my favorite thing about composting, just what I hope to gain.

I am preparing to build my very first compost heap as I try to green our family. We've cut our weekly waste output in half already, and composting can help us be less wasteful. I will be starting my first garden next year and I'd love to learn all I can about composting. I could really use this book!

Daniel Ascher said...

Hi Raz!

We love the fact that there is so much less trash! We throw most of our produce waste onto the compost pile and 90% of it magically disappears! Even if you don't use the compost it is a great way to reduce the waste stream, which saves lots of money and fuel in garbage hauling, and of course reduces carbon emissions since the trucks don't have to haul it all away.

Julie Kieras said...

What I like most about composting is that my husband does all the work! haha kidding - I like that when we compost we reduce our garbage, return energy to the earth, and improve our gardens! My hubby would love to read this book!

casey aubut said...

I have not tried it yet- but really want to- just not sure where to start- that is where this book would come in handy! :)
We are starting a garden and heard that these go hand in hand.

marybelle said...

I love that our green waste helps to grow our fruit tress & vegie plants.

sweetpea18 said...

i love that our food scraps are going to make are garden even better next year! i also love that we have so little trash anymore!
heatheranya at hotmail dot com

Redefining Normal said...

I love having so little actual trash after I compost.

Those "surprise" potatoes, melons, etc. are awfully fun, too,

fun said...

The thing that is attractive to me about composting is that it reduces waste. We want to compost and I am learning everything about it that I can so we get set up with the system that works best for us. I also love that we can use the compost to grow our own super nutritious food. I think it is a great example to our son to invest sustainable solutions. at gmail dot com