Not all trash is actually trash. We've already discussed recycling, that's an obvious way to cut back on the amount of junk you throw into a landfill. But what about composting? Some many things you normally toss into the garbage can actually break down on their own... quickly! Here are five simple tips to help with your compost pile.

1. Anything that was alive is a good candidate, except animal products. So vegetables, grass clippings, fallen leaves, etc. are all fantastic materials.

2. Your pile needs to be big enough for you to be able to turn it, yet small enough to retain heat. Most sources recommend about a 3' x 3' x 3' area.

3. Chop, tear, and clip! Make your materials small, so they break down in an appropriate amount of time. Shred the newspaper, chop up that apple core. Give your pile a hand.

4. Aerate! There are so many mixed reviews on this... Anywhere from 4 days to 2 months between turns. Your pile needs oxygen for all of the materials to break down, but you don't want to let the heat escape. My advice is to watch your pile and see what works best for you.

5. Just add water. Not a ton, but enough to make the pile damp. It's likely that the rain will do most of this work for you, but you may have to hose it down a bit each time you turn it.

Compose piles aren't just for gardeners. We are well into June and my garden is virually non-existant, yet I keep adding to my compost pile. It makes me feel good to know that many of these items will be broken down and used for good instead of slowly rotting in a landfill. Plus, if I ever get my act together on that garden, I have some good compost waiting for me!