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Composting & How to turn your Egg Trays and Veg Boxes back into a Renewable Source of Nutrients

Updated: Sep 4, 2022

For as far as we know, rooted plants have been evolving for millions of years. With this evolution, an intrinsic relationship has developed between plants and soil microorganisms; a carefully tried and tested marriage that follows the fundamentals of natural succession. Plants have evolved to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into exudates; simple as well as complex concoctions of sugars, proteins, and carbohydrates are exchanged with the soil microorganisms for plant available nutrients. Why are we talking about plants, the soil food web, and composting in a blog about cardboard boxes? Because cardboard can be used among other materials for the “brown” component in composting.

Composting, as we know it today, comes in many different forms and approaches. In many countries it has different definitions and many different formulas. Here, we will not focus on these differences, but simply on the fundamentals.

In essence, composting has two main functions; it is both a process of decomposition as well as nutrient cycling. And the more you can perfect the art of compost making, the more you can use it to your advantage, primarily for gardening, agriculture, or forestry.

Turkana Women Making Compost with old cardboard boxes
Turkana Women Making Compost

Turkana women making compost with old cardboard boxes
Making Compost with Cardboard

Online, there are countless experts as well as beginners showing different methods of either stagnant composting or hot composting, as well as vermi-composting. Ultimately, our more preferred methodology has been developed by Dr Elaine Ingham and the Soil Food Web School. However, their approach is not very straight forward and can take time, effort, equipment, and a microscope to get right. And so, we recommend using whatever means you feel comfortable with to compost your carboard egg box or veggie box. And remember that in essence, cardboard is a source of brown material for your layers in your compost and that any ink used on the cardboard “can” be fully composted IF the right microorganisms are present. ALWAYS keep your compost aerobic and well aerated!

And so, if you choose not re-use our cardboard boxes, we urge you to start using them to make compost as it is not only a fun activity to do in your free time, but can also be the catalyst in your path to discovering more about plants, the nutrient cycle, and the fascinating world of life that lives in healthy soils.

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