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Let’s Get Dirty- Just for Kids

As a mom I know that to get my kids excited about zero waste I need to be creative- so I imagine you might be the same.  

So here we go let’s learn all about composting!


One of the big things when folks talk about zero waste is our food waste. In our homes, one of the things we waste the most is food! Can you believe most families waste about HALF of the food they buy?! That’s crazy!  

What can kids do about being reducing food waste? 

  1. Only scoop onto your plate as much as you can eat 
  2. When trying new foods only start with a little instead of a whole heap 
  3. Save leftovers instead of throwing them away 
  4. Compost your food waste—this is the fun stuff! 

A lot of us don’t live in the country where we can compost, but there is a way you can compost in your house. Yes! It is possible!  

Here is what you need: 

  1. A cardboard box with lid (roughly the size of a banker box) 
  2. Extra cardboard to reinforce the bottom and sides of the box 
  3. An old cotton shirt 
  4. Coconut coir 
  5. Hardwood ash 

How to do it: 

With the help of an adult cut the cardboard to reinforce the sides and bottom (inside) of the box. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Just add enough cardboard to add an extra layer of protection.  

Then, mix the coconut coir and hardwood ash together with a ratio of 3:2 (so 3 cups coconut for every 2 cups of hardwood ash) until your box is 2/3 of the way full.  

Once it’s all mixed together, moisten the coir and ash until it is damp- not soggy.  It’s all about composting- not making mud pies- so it has to have a perfect consistency for the magic to happen. 

Now, add any food scraps you may have. Start off slow. Add about 2 cups of food and then cover the food with the compost. Cover the box with the t-shirt (this keeps the bugs out) and then put the lid on. You can continue this every day. Over time you will notice the food breaking down.  

  • If your box dries out- simply moisten with water 
  • If your box is too full- don’t add any more food until it breaks down more 
  • If you see fruit flies- you can add a vinegar trap. Then try freezing your scraps first before adding 
  • Always make sure your lid and shirt are covering the box and that the food is covered with compost 
  • Smaller pieces break down faster than larger 
  • We have never added meat but supposedly you can 
  • Don’t add too much moisture  

 Cool things you can add: 

  • Food waste- fruits, veggies, pasta, breads 
  • Hair 
  • Coffee grounds 
  • Dryer lint 
  • Shredded paper 
  • Pencil shavings 

If you and your parents would like to learn more about what zero waste- please click here

If you love getting dirty- how about some worms?!

We buy all of our vermicomposting supplies from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. Here is a video where Uncle Jim explains how to acclimate your new worms 🙂

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