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Fact or Fiction: Composting
by Staff
The average American household throws away 470 pounds of food waste every year. Sure, composting is the responsible thing to do, but isn't it complicated and labor-intensive? Doesn't it stink up your yard? Take our quiz and find out.

Only 10 percent of the solid waste generated by Americans every year gets recycled.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's even lower -- 8 percent.

The four main things you need for composting are: organic waste, soil, water and air.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You can do without the soil.

You should never add meat and dairy products to a compost pile because they'll make it smell bad.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You can compost meat and dairy, but only with very careful pile management.

Your first compost pile could take almost a year to fully decompose, but after that it'll take about two to three weeks (if you're really efficient).

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The time requirement stays about the same for the life of the pile.

You should never add human waste to a compost pile.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: A small amount of human waste adds valuable bacteria.

The optimal ratio of carbon to nitrogen in a compost pile is about 30:1.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's 1:30.

Temperatures in a compost pile can reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 Celsius).

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The middle of the pile is that hot, but the outer layers aren't.

You should turn your compost pile once a week to oxygenate it.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's more like every five days.

If you see gas bubbles on your compost pile, don't worry. That means things are working fine.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Too many gas bubbles means everything is fermenting.

Your compost is finished when the pile's volume has gone down about 25 percent and its temperature is below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It should be 50 to 75 percent smaller.