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Overview of composting

Amazing But True Composting Facts!

Composting with worms is called vermicomposting.

Composting with redworms (called red wigglers!) can eat over half their weight in food in a day.

About two-thirds of our trash is biodegradeable and could be composted: (paper, yard and garden scraps, food).

In the United States, each person generates about 4.3 pounds of trash every day equaling 195.7 million tons! (Environmental Protection Agency, 1990)

It takes 200 to 500 years for an aluminum can to decompose.

It takes about 450 years for a plastic six pack cover to decompose.

A compost pile can reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit; it's all body heat given off by the decomposers.

Americans throw away more paper than any other type of trash.

Yes! Hair can be composted!

The decomposers in a compost bin breathe oxygen.

Test Your Compost Knowledge.
Are these statements true or false? Keep track of your answers by adding up the number you get right.

1. The nutrients in food can be recycled. TRUE or FALSE

2. Paper is biodegradable. TRUE or FALSE

3. Plastic wrap should go into the compost. TRUE or FALSE

4. Changing food into soil takes two weeks and three days. TRUE or FALSE

5. Orange peels can not be composted. TRUE or FALSE

6. Worms are decomposers. TRUE or FALSE

7. Decomposers in a compost pile need oxygen. TRUE or FALSE

8. It doesn't matter if the compost pile is turned as long as it is wet. TRUE or FALSE

9. The product of a compost pile is similar to topsoil. TRUE or FALSE

10. Nutrients move through the food chain. TRUE or FALSE

11. The best way to get rid of leaves to put them in a plastic bag for curbside pick-up. TRUE or FALSE

12. When compost get compacted, it smells. TRUE or FALSE

13. The center of a working compost pile is very cool. TRUE or FALSE

14. Compost piles are always very smelly. TRUE or FALSE

15. Nature recycles. TRUE or FALSE

16. People who live in apartments can't compost. TRUE or FALSE

17. Composting is one way to recycle. TRUE or FALSE

18. Decomposers need only food and air to do their work in a compost pile. TRUE or FALSE

19. Yard scraps, such as grass clippings and leaves, can be composted. TRUE or FALSE

20. Composting works only if it is done in a specially designed compost bin. TRUE or FALSE

21. Animals are less attracted to a compost bin if meat and bones are not put into it. TRUE or FALSE

Check your true or false answers.


Benefits of composting
Gossary words
Links and resources

Activities and Games:

There are two puzzles below, a word search puzzle and a word scramble puzzle. You can print out the puzzles in Adobe's Acrobat Reader (PDF). If you do not have this software, you can download it for free at Get Acrobat Reader.

Word search puzzle.

Word scramble puzzle.




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