Excessive waste is a major problem in the United States and worldwide. Research shows that the world produces 2.3 billion tons of municipal solid waste every year.
An average American family creates 6570 pounds of trash each year. About half of that trash is compostable but ends up in landfills. Organic material in landfills contributes to emissions that are warming the planet. Composting is one way to address the problem of excessive waste.
What is composting?
Composting is a form of recycling that uses organic waste to improve soil quality. Once the composting waste breaks down and decomposes, the finished product can serve as fertilizer or mulch.
Why is composting important?
Composting benefits individuals, communities, the economy, and the planet. It is an easy way for us to do our part in helping nature and managing waste more effectively. Here are some positive composting environmental impacts.
Composting reduces waste
One third to one half of our waste is organic in nature. By composting, we reduce the amount of waste that ends up filling our landfills and emitting toxic gasses like methane and carbon dioxide.
Composting enriches soil
Compost is a natural way to enrich soil by helping it retain moisture, air, and nutrients. It makes the land more fertile by introducing colonies of microbes. When the soil is healthier, the food grown in it is more nutritious. Compost can even help soil absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
Composting helps the economy and saves money
Composting can save money on garbage bills, waste disposal supplies, and fertilizer. It makes you more aware of the food you waste, so you might save money by buying less food. By decreasing landfill costs and creating green jobs, it helps the economy. It helps farmers save money on fertilizer, water, and irrigation, and it increases the yields of their crops.
Composting conserves water
Because compost helps soil retain moisture, more water makes its way down to replenish springs, ponds, and lakes. Composted soil filters the water and cleans it. Using compost instead of chemical fertilizer prevents toxic substances from polluting our oceans.
Different methods of composting
There are several different methods of composting to choose from. Here are a few ways that composting can be done.
Vermicomposting uses composting worms to break down organic material. It is one of the quickest ways to transform your composting waste into finished compost. Hot composting involves throwing your scraps in a pile in your yard. It is easy to do and requires no special equipment, but it can be smelly and attract rodents and bugs.
Compost tumblers are another option. These are large sealed containers that can rotate to distribute air. You can buy them at garden supply stores or hardware stores. These can be heavy and hard to turn.
Three-bin composting is a great way to have finished compost available whenever you need it. You put the three bins side by side. The first bin is for new scraps. Once it's full, you move the contents to the second bin to decompose. The third bin is for finished compost that is ready to use.
Some cities and towns offer composting services. They will provide you with a composting bin and curbside pickup. All you need to do is collect your scraps in the bin and remember to put it out each week.
Composting is a win-win proposition. When you compost, you get free fertilizer, reduce your waste, and save money. Most of all, you change your interaction with the world around you in a positive way. Composting fosters a nature and nurture mentality. When we compost, we return everything that nature gives us back to the soil where it came from to nurture new life.