Maybe you first heard about composting from a local farmer. Maybe your neighbour is a gardener. Or maybe a nearby restaurant boasts that it composts food scraps in a green space outback. Whether you’ve known about composting since childhood or just started looking into it for yourself, there’s always more to learn. If you’re willing to put in a bit of thought and effort, there’s good to be done by simply changing the way you get rid of your rubbish.
What is composting?
Have you ever come across a half-eaten piece of fruit on the side of the sidewalk? Or a rotting banana peel in the parking lot? This natural decomposition is the basis of composting. Composting vegetation already fills our parks, forests and other un-manicured outdoor spaces. “Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When you choose to use a compost pile or compost bin at home to cut back on garbage services or use nature’s own recycling method, you’re composting. So, really, composting is simple: It means you’re separating your organic waste (food scrap, yard clippings and other once-living things) into a special spot for composting instead of adding it to the recycling bin or garbage bin.
Why is composting earth-friendly?
Composting your organic waste helps the environment in two big ways. First, compost enriches soil so that it can give precious nutrients to plants that are still growing. If you have a garden or even potted plants or flowers, you can eventually use your composted soil to help plants grow more quickly and vibrantly. Secondly, composting keeps food scraps out of the landfill. Though landfills and compost piles look similar at face value, food decomposes more quickly – and in a more earth-friendly way – when composted. “Waste sent to landfill breaks down anaerobically – that is, without any oxygen present. It is squashed down then capped with soil and clay… As the rubbish breaks down over time, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more powerful than CO2,” an article by the Guardian explains. Food scraps also decompose slower in a landfill.
Learn the truth about common “going green” myths.