How to make organic compost yourself?

Organic compost

Every year we produce tons of waste that ends up on landfills. Of course, a part of that waste is recycled waste. Consider glass, paper, plastic or metal. But garden waste is also reused through composting. Organic compost is a way in which solid waste is broken down by microorganisms. In combination with oxygen, this triggers a natural reaction that recycles the organic waste.

For a household, organic compost is an important part of reducing the amount of household waste. Every household can compost and it doesn’t cost a lot of money or effort. The end product can be used as a natural fertilizer for gardening and for agricultural purposes.

If you are curious how you can make an organic compost heap in your own garden, then certainly continue reading.

Compost garden

What is organic compost?

When composting, you create ideal conditions for triggering natural decay or putrefaction of natural products. If you want to start composting, you need a number of basic components: organic waste such as fruit and vegetables, wood waste, leaves, newspapers and grass. You also need water, air and soil that is the source for microorganisms.

During the process of composting, the microorganisms living in the soil do all the work. They eat the organic waste and break it down into very small particles. The result is humus that is rich in fiber. In addition, the humus contains inorganic nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen.

The microorganisms break down the waste through aerobic breathing. For this they need the oxygen that they obtain from the air. It is important to regularly turn the waste in the compost bin. In addition, the microorganisms need water to stay alive and to multiply. The aerobic breathing process produces carbon dioxide and heat. Do you know that the temperature in a compost heap can be as high as 60 degrees Celsius? Provided the compost heap will be managed actively. You can stimulate this by regularly turning the waste and watering it. In this way the putrefaction process can take place in just a few weeks.

The ideal conditions for a compost heap

The balance in the compost heap is important. Otherwise, efficient dissolution cannot take place. Important components for the compost heap:

  • Enough water, the mixture must be moist, not soaked.
  • The mixture must be turned every other day so that it contains sufficient air.
  • The mixture must consist of small waste particles. Large chunks must be made small. Large parts also will be broken down, but it takes longer.
  • The correct ratio of nitrogen and carbon is important. The ideal ratio is 1:30.
  • A sufficient amount of soil that ensures the presence of the microorganisms.
Organic garden

Why do you want an organic compost heap?

The first and most important purpose of composting is to reduce the amount of waste. This saves waste on landfills. And when everyone offers less waste, the waste processing costs can also be reduced.

But in addition to saving waste, it is also a natural fertilizer. Compost contains many bacteria and fungi that break down the organic matter in the waste. Furthermore, in a good compost heap you will also find small worms, single-celled organisms and mites. They feed on the fungi and bacteria that are present. The centipedes, beetles and other invertebrates mainly feed on the single-celled organisms. This keeps the population of every organism in balance. A balance that increases the efficiency of composting. For example, it is clear that an environmentally friendly fertilizer is always better for your garden than synthetic fertilizer.

An organic compost therefor fits in a sustainable household, but is also an essential part of living off the grid.

How to make organic compost?

•      First choose a good place for your compost heap or compost bin. A compost heap or compost bin is ideally located at a good distance from the house. After all, you want to prevent dirty rotting odors from entering your home. You also have to think about a good distance for the neighbors property.

•      Add the ingredients. That sounds simple, but keep in mind that not all waste produces the same result. For example, waste from meat and dairy will contain many fats. This causes an unpleasant odor. But do you have an active organic compost heap, meat and dairy are not a problem. Furthermore, fruit and vegetable peels, seeds and leaves are ideal. Just like eggshells, coffee grounds including the paper filter, tea bags and used paper napkins. And of course garden waste, such as grass residues, twigs, hay, straw, sawdust and newspapers are good breeding grounds for the compost heap.

  • What you should not throw on the compost heap, includes human waste or cat litter. This contains diseases and parasites that disturb the natural balance. Diseased garden plants and invasive weeds are also not good for healthy organic compost.
  • Cover the compost pile with sufficient soil. It is recommended to spray the soil shortly with water, so that there is sufficient water available. Then turn the compost so that everything can mix well and there is sufficient air in it.
Organic vegetable garden

Worm composting for a faster process

Worms can shorten composting times by as much as 50 percent. You can sow your compost heap with earthworms or buy special compost worms. You can place a box with worms outside the house to process kitchen waste and meat scraps.

As you add new layers and run the compost, mix new layers of intact waste with partially broken layers. The partially and almost finished material will settle on the bottom because the particles are smaller. The completed compost comes from the bottom of the bin.

Making a compost heap is not difficult and is very good for the environment. You contribute to reducing waste processing, which can also have economic benefits. But if you really want to participate in sustainability, then composting is a great start. The compost, the end product, is purely organic. Plants in your garden will grow better. And have you started growing your own vegetables? Then the use of pure organic fertilizer is more than welcome. That way you know for sure that no chemical products has been used. That is how you start an easy and cheap sustainable life.

Living off the grid: 3 important steps to take

Living off the grid

Living off the grid is the dream of many, but only few realize this dream. No more envelopes, bills, WhatsApp groups and manage your energy consumption and waste. No more horrible job, but working to have a simple but comfortable and happy life.

Can you go without the luxuries you currently enjoy? Living off the grid goes hand-in-hand with arranging your own energy supply, food and waste. It’s a great way to reduce your ecological footprint. But are you up for it?

Off the grid living

What is living off the grid?

Almost every house is connected to the electricity network, has a gas connection and water supply. If you go off the grid, you will no longer use these ‘standard’ facilities. You are going to create your own energy. When the idea sounds attractive to you, it makes sense to become partially self-sufficient. Do you have the ambition and the possibilities to switch to a life off the grid? You’re a lucky one.

Do you want to know what it takes to live off the grid? Then continue reading, because we tell you everything you need to know about this lifestyle change. Living off the grid, 3 import steps to take.

How does it work, living off the grid?

An off grid way of life is more than anything being independent from big companies. Start with an alternative to your energy supply. Wind or solar energy are the most common possibilities, because these are energy sources that are always present. But you also need an alternative for clean drinking water supply. These are the steps you need to take.

solar panels

Step 1: Choose a natural energy source

You can produce solar energy by installing solar panels on the roof of your house. Or if you have enough land, the panels can also be placed on the ground. These are panels that contain cells made of silicon semiconductors. These semiconductors collect energy from the sun as soon as sunlight hits the panel. Electrons are released that cause an electric field. The electrons start flowing in one direction, creating direct energy. The inverter conducts the direct energy flow and converts it into the alternating energy that the house is using.

If you prefer to use wind energy, this works almost the same way. A wind turbine is installed that looks like an airplane propeller. This propeller stands on top of a tower of 15 to 36 meters high. As soon as the wind blows, the wings of the propeller start turning. They rotate around the axis of the rotor hub that leads to the generator. The generated energy by the rotations of the propeller blades are converted into electricity in the generator. An inverter ensures that the energy is converted into usable alternating energy.

Step 2 Choose an alternative for drinking water and the waste water

You have taken the first step by choosing a natural energy source. Now you should focus on ways to receive clean drinking water and alternatives to the sewer system.

Fortunately, there is water almost everywhere. It falls from the sky like rain, just as it runs under your feet as groundwater, or through rivers. You can get drinking water by digging a well. Of course there are laws and regulations regarding the drilling or digging of a private well. This differs per country. Contamination could occur in the soil due to leaks. It is also good to know that the deeper you drill the well, the cleaner the water will be. But it is always advisable to install a good water filter. This stops dirt and improves the taste of the water. An advantage of a private water source is that you can avoid a shortage of water during times of drought.

An above or belowground rain tank is another way to provide yourself with water. By using a pump, the water can be pumped under pressure towards the house. If you want to use rainwater as drinking water, make sure that the basin is made of metal or clay. A pre-filtering system is recommended, especially in areas where rainwater can be polluted by pollution and gases.

Then there is the sewer pipe that requires an alternative. Installing a septic system in the ground is the solution. A septic system is a large metal tank that collects and releases all waste from every drain in the house. The amount of bacteria in the tank ensures a natural degradation and separation of the liquids. This creates a lower sludge layer, a middle liquid layer and an upper foam layer in the tank. Every time wastewater flows in, the present middle layer of liquid flows out. This is done via perforated pipes that release the water from a distance into a specially created drain field. The bottom acts as a biological filter. How often the tank must be emptied depends on the size of the tank and the size of the household.

You waste water from the toilet could also be used as compost for your lands.

Living off the grid

Step 3 Say goodbye to the gas pipeline

Heating water and heating your house without gas is a new goal. Gas is polluting, and never environmental friendly. Additionally it is a non-renewable resource. You can think of an electric boiler. But it immediately uses a lot of the generated energy. Propane is an alternative gas source, but the propane tank must be filled regularly. A solar water heater seems more suitable. It is a system that uses the solar heat and thus heats the water. The wood-burning stoves are of course ideal for heating the house.

Do you feel you are ready to live off the grid? Being independent offers many benefits. But be aware that even with solar and wind energy, power consumption must be limited. You cannot use all your devices at the same time, as you were used to. You should more than ever strive for a sustainable lifestyle. But by composting and providing your own fruits and vegetables, life becomes a lot less complicated. Have your own chickens and take some goats for healthy milk. Off the grid is suitable for anyone who wants to live a greener life.

A sustainable life: 7 practical tips for at home

Sustainable life

[pl_col col=12]

More and more attention is paid to a sustainable life. However, how to start making your life more sustainable? Before starting you should know what it actually is.

Sustainability is the word. If we talk about sustainability, you have to think about a broad concept. It goes from separating waste, to choose building materials and energy saving solutions for your house and garden. It’s about limiting the ecological footprint your leave on earth. A sustainable life is about smart investments in your home, which generates a good returning for your environment. But a sustainable life is also about awareness and behavior.

Do you want to know how to make your home and interior more sustainable? We have the best practical tips for you! Tips for at home, like investing in insolation, but also, tips when traveling. Like, comparing sustainable travel using FlyGRN.

The 7 best tips for a sustainable living

Sustainable home

1.    Invest in insolation

A home with a good insolation consumes less energy. Do you have an old house? Than you have many possibilities for improvements. Remember: insulation comes first, then green energy.

A well insulated house consumes less energy, as the heat stays in. This also means a more comfortable house to be in.

Insulating the roof is very important. It prevents the heath from rising and escaping. And replacing single windows for efficient double glazed windows will also help tremendously. Of course this all is an investment; investments that will be compensated by a lower energy bill each month.

But there are also improvements that cost less money. Like hanging curtains in cold rooms and keeping the house free from drafts. The heating is generally one of the most high-energy consuming factors in the house. If you want to receive lower energy bills, perhaps there are possibilities for subsidies to make your house more sustainable. Ask you local governmental agency for the possibilities.

2.    Be efficient and smart with using energy

Energy savers are a good choice to start with. Make a tour around your house and make a list. Write down all the little things you can change.

Maybe you have light bulbs that can be replaced for energy saving lamps or LED lamps. Place drafts strips along the doors. Close connecting doors and heat only rooms where you are. Place time clocks in your house, so lighting doesn’t consume more than necessary. And of course when choosing a new car, a new house, kitchen or computer, give energy efficiency priority. It is best to always choose an A++ energy label on new devices.

3.    Choose fair trade products

It is a trend that is increasingly gaining importance. Because more and more people want products which are made with raw products and produced with the least possible use of energy. So people like to invest in products that help our climate and are good for mother nature.

A possibility is to give fair trade products as gifts to friends and family. Explain why you choose this product. On the other hand: only throw things away if you cannot sell them or reuse them. Giving products a new live is part of living a sustainable life.

4.    A green house and a green garden

Did you ever notice that plants in your house are very good for the climate in your home? They filter the air, so you can live healthier. So go and buy some beautiful plants that purify the air and are non-toxic.

The same goes for your garden. Many gardens nowadays are paved and therefore completely closed. It’s easy for cleaning and maintenance, but awfully bad for drainage and nature, like birds and insects. So open up your garden and plant some beautiful flowers, plants or shrubs. Make your garden a natural area. It gives your garden immediately more color and a natural feeling. Rain feeds your plants, so put them in a space where they have the benefits of a rainy weather.

And if we talk about trees, they function as a natural thermostat. Because in winter, the sun will warm your house by shining through the bare branches. In summer the leaves keep your house cool during warm days. A tree in your garden is always a good idea.

Don’t forget our insects. A garden with insects is a healthy, sustainable garden. Plant trees to welcome bees, flies and birds, and enjoy the view and bird songs during spring and summer.

5.    Sustainable furniture

Are you looking for new furniture? Then it is good to think about choosing materials that are ecological and non-toxic. Furniture made of bamboo or corks are responsible materials, as is fair trade wood. Or if you are interested in something more fashionable, then bio-plastic could be a possibility. It is a material that has been made from extracted natural products, such as corn and potatoes. It sounds incredible, doesn’t it?

But instead of buying all new furniture, there are also other solutions. Maybe you can paint some of the furniture you already have to give it a new life. Or you go to a secondhand store for unique, antique or vintage pieces. This way you give furniture a second live, instead of consuming more resources.

6.    Water efficiency

Water effeciency

There is a lot of water all over the world, but only 1% can be used as drinking water. That is so little in contrast to the large number of people who live on earth. So fresh, safe and pure drinking water is scarce. And if the population grows as if it has the last 50 years, water will become even scarcer. So it is very necessary that new desalination en purification techniques are applied to change the scarcity of water in the future.

What you can do is prevent that water flows unnecessarily. For example when brushing your teeth. And never ever flush medication or tampons down the toilet, as this contaminates clean drinking water. Or when you need to wash your car it’s better to go to a car wash as here polluted water is collected and purified. If you clean your car outside your house, all water and the car shampoo will be absorbed through the earth. Of course this is very polluting.

7.    Separate your waste

Yes, we produce waste and that cannot be prevented. Although you can limit the amount of waste your produce. And you can help with recycling your waste. Therefore, look very carefully at your own waste. Which items can you reuse? And otherwise you ensure proper separation of waste. This way it can be processed efficiently and the professional recycling process will be used optimally.

Examples of waste that can easily be separated are: plastic, residual waste, batteries, paper, chemical waste, cooking oil, organic waste and glass. You can read more tips for living sustainable here.

OCTOBER Bonus: Install the new Chrome or Firefox extension TreeClicks. That’s a free sustainability related Chrome extension that plants trees for free when you shop at one of the more than 50.000 shops like Amazon, Target, etc. Prices remain the same.

2023 Bonus Tip: Another tips is to try to look for refurbished products with this comparison tool.


Everything you need to know about green energy

Green energy

More often you here people talk about green energy. However, do you know what green electricity means? Moreover, maybe more interesting is the question: what are the benefits of green energy? When you ask people in the street about green electricity, the answers are mostly the same. Green electricity is sustainable energy, and thus good for the environment and for our planet. But what does sustainable energy actually imply?

This article is going to describes everything you need to know about this topic. So, green power or green electricity comes from inexhaustible sources. Sources like hydroelectric plants, wind mills or solar panels. Inexhaustible electricity sources mean it will always be there. Green energy also clearly means it doesn’t pollute our environment. So it seems smart to use these kind of sources for your energy consumption, instead of polluting energy.

What is green energy?

As we just emphasized, green energy is generated from unexhausted sources. Sources that will never run out. Light, heat, water en wind will always be there. Every day. These types of sources can never be completely absorbed. That is why they always will provide us with sustainable energy.

Grey energy is the other kind, which is normally used for energy consumption. This energy is generated by natural gas, coal or oil. These sources are very polluting for the environment when they are used for energy production. And of course, one day they run out. This is the reason why energy suppliers more then every change towards producing green energy.  

What is the difference between grey energy and green energy?

As a user of electricity, you never will notice any difference between grey en green energy. All your devices work the same and that will never change. The only difference is how the energy is generated.

When you choose green energy, you will certainly have the same power coming from the outlet as your neighbors who have grey energy. It looks the same. There is only one type of power grid and all electricity goes through it. No matter whether it’s green or grey. Green energy will not go through separate cables to the house that has a green energy contract. This will never happen, and isn’t necessary.

Do you want to know what type of energy you consume? Look at your energy contract to figure out which type of energy your energy supplier delivers. Green energy comes mostly from wind mills, and in some countries from hydro-electric plants. Grey energy is the polluting one. How much grey energy have you consumed?

Sustainable energy for a cleaner planet

A world with a fresh air, healthy nature and healthy drinking water. Isn’t that a world everyone wants to live in? Shouldn’t we protect nature for future generations, so that our children can live happily?

That’s why the choice for green energy should not be a difficult choice. Fortunately, more and more people realize that we have to be careful with nature and with the raw materials that the earth gives us. Nor should we continue to harm the environment, flora and fauna. We take care of nature, so that we can live on this earth for many years to come. Opting for green energy is an important choice towards to a healthier, cleaner planet.

Green energy

What if our resources run out?

We are too dependent on certain resources. Grey energy will run out one day. Grey energy comes from fossil fuels. These resources need to be burned in order to produce energy, and additionally are limited. Fossil fuels can run out.

Therefor it is important to think about alternatives to fossil fuels in order to prevent that the world gets in trouble at some point due to insufficient resources and our huge hunger for energy consumption. On the other hand, these fossil fuels cause a lot of damage to the environment and our climate. We must therefore be aware that fossil fuels must be replaced.

Do I pay more for green energy than for grey energy?

Yes, green electricity is generally a bit more expensive. That has to do with the costs that companies incur to generate green energy. The costs for generating grey energy are generally lower. But the price that the consumer pays is not so much different.

One supplier requires one small additional price for green energy. Another company charges lower costs. This is because the government provides subsidies for green energy. This keeps the costs for consumers relatively low. Plus, there is another benefit for energy producers in keeping their prices down. And that is winning new customers. With high prices you generally attract few customers and that is exactly what must be prevented.

But don’t be fooled. Low prices for grey energy are compensated with high collective costs for fighting climate change and natural disasters due to climate change. In the end, this bill needs to be paid by our society.

How do I know if green energy is really green?

How can you be sure that the green energy you think you buy, is actually sustainable energy?

Check your energy supplier. What do they supply? Look closely. It is possible your energy supplier has contracts for green energy, which means they pay for green energy contracts to compensate grey energy production.

An alternative way is to investigate independent consumer organizations about research on your energy supplier.

Our advice: always go for the greenest and most environmental friendly energy supplier your can find.  

How do you generate private green energy?

Solar panels are the most obvious step if you think about generating green electricity. But solar panels are only one of the many options you have. Though it is the most commonly used variant of solar energy. Generating energy yourself is very beneficial on the long term. The only drawback is the investment that must be made when purchasing. And unfortunately, not everyone is capable to do so.

You can generate energy at home for your own use, you can even generate more than that. You then return the remaining amount to the energy supplier, the proceeds of which will be deducted from your energy bill. Or you use batteries that store the excess energy generated, so you can use this energy when sunlight is little.

Green energy? Just go for it!

Ultimately, it comes down to everyone having to participate in the generation of sustainable energy. Because in the end there are no other solutions left. But before the time comes, it’s good to delve into the possibilities. Certainly now that you know the difference between grey and green energy.