07 Oct The Benefits of Composting – How to Get Started
Composting is all the rage these days and given all the ways it helps the planet, it’s no surprise.
Before we tell you more about why composting is the jam, let’s break down a few terms that can get confused easily.
Still with us? FANTASTIC.
Here are the top 5 reasons you should start composting today.
1 – Composting reduces waste sent to landfills and also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Roughly 22% of materials sent to landfills are food scraps – making up the largest single component of municipal solid waste in the U.S. today. The average American creates roughly 4 pounds of trash daily, amounting to 1,600 pounds annually. Removing 20% or more of this waste and redirecting to composting facilities would make a huge difference.
In addition, and arguably more importantly, food scraps & organic materials sent to landfills are deprived of oxygen. Most people assume their banana peel will break down in a landfill the same way it would if you tossed it out your car window. Not so.
Landfills process waste by sealing it in to prevent odors & pests. The unfortunate side effect is that is removes oxygen from the environment, which is critical for the microorganisms responsible for decomposition to survive. Thus organic materials undergo what’s called anaerobic digestion, which releases methane gas, a volatile organic compound 84 times more potent that CO2 in the 20 years after it is released. Landfills in the US are the third largest emitter of methane gas.
2 – Compost improves soil structure and promotes healthy plant growth.
Applied compost has an incredible impact on soil health. It naturally protects against soil desertification and erosion. It increases microbial activity and soil fertility. It improves soil’s ability to store nutrients and absorb water. Applying compost helps plants fight off disease and as such, reduces or can eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
3 – Compost serves as a filter and a sponge.
Compost immobilizes and degrades pollutants found in groundwater. Studies in urban wastewater management have shown that compost can filter out an astounding 65-90% of pollutants from water. Compost also has the ability to store more water than regular soil. Adding just a pound of compost to 100 pounds of soil will increase the water retention by about 4 gallons!
4 – Compost recycles essential nutrients back into the soil.
Modern agriculture has destroyed the soil structure of our farmland. Applied compost adds the nutrients & minerals found in the food we eat and releases it back into the soil.
Compost also acts similar to a timed release vitamin, adding nutrients back over time to better sustain the plants and ecosystem, as opposed to a conventional fertilizer that releases them all at once. And because compost is made of a diverse mix of materials, it has more nutrients than a fertilizer.
5 – Compost helps soil sequester carbon.
Studies have shown that application of compost along with cover crops can sequester carbon at a far higher rate than cover crops alone. Which means compost can help our soils absorb and store carbon currently existing in our atmosphere.
If we’ve lost you, we assume it’s because you’ve gone outside to get your pile started. Because it’s clear composting deserves all the hype.
We at Mother Compost don’t care how you make it work. Indoor, outdoor, by yourself, with a community garden, using a private service (like ours ;), but get out there and COMPOST!