My family has always loved composting, and this all began from small actions such as, becoming more aware of the waste we were creating, and what we could do to reduce it. The act of separating our food scraps from the rest of our waste was one of the steps that we implemented. This gradually became easier to do, and we had even used compost for gardening at home. Not only did it feel like we were doing something good for the planet, but we were also able to enjoy some homegrown veggies (they were amazing). 

What is compost?

Most of us know what composting is but to give an exact definition, according to EPA, composting would be defined as a “material with a content called humus that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like, earthy smell”.  This consists of a variety of organic waste that can be combined, and then a curing process is used for the compost to mature. Planet Natural mentions how the curing process is necessary before the compost is used with soil, as the substances within immature compost can be quite damaging for plants. When the compost is matured, it is of much better quality and ready for use. 

Source: Unsplash

Why compost? 

Soil Decontamination

Well, what isn’t there to love about it? Composting helps to protect the environment and to eliminate the amount of waste in landfills. Compost is much more beneficial as it can be used to decontaminate soil at polluted sites, as stated by Planet Natural. This helps to preserve the quality of the soil, as the pollutants are kept within the compost. It is a safer alternative to use in comparison to pesticides; in fact, in the long run, this would be a much more cost-effective and efficient method to use. 

Reduction of Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gas emissions are greatly reduced by the use of composting. These gases occur at landfills where our waste is transported to and can result in the release of methane gas. Greenhouse gases can result in health problems and are harming the environment when they’re released into the air. If we’re able to help reduce the amount of waste we create, it could significantly impact the planet for the better. 

Avoid Fertilizer Runoff

Fertilizers are used by many individuals due to its convenience. The toxic chemicals within them can lead to water pollution – the fertilizer runoff can be dangerous for many species. USGS defines runoff as uncontrolled and excessive water which often appears due to storms. This runoff can then flow off into bodies of water and harm various aquatic species. This ends up not only ruining the water quality but also having terrible effects on the animals. 

Water Retention

EPA also mentions one particular benefit of composting which is the retention of water. Water retention is useful for the growth of vegetation and of reforestation; it can lead to a greater production of plants. This is because the soil is much safer and does not include unwanted or harmful chemicals – which would restrict plant growth. 

Reduction of Food Waste 

Another factor to consider would be the amount of food wastage which is reduced by composting. This is a growing problem which occurs due to excess food which is thrown away for various reasons. By composting we’re helping to reduce the amount of food which ends up piling in landfills and contributes to greenhouse gases. It is also an easy way to save some money and to do some good. 

How to Compost

This is a list which Good Housekeeping recommends: 

  1. Some sort of bin with a lid will be required or you can purchase a compact 
  2. Biodegradable bags should be used and lined up within the bins for easier use
  3. Place your waste within the bin (food scraps) 
  4. Also place dry matter within the bin (leaves, twigs, newspaper etc.)
  5. Make sure to water the compost as well 

*Both the organic and dry matter should be around equal parts 

Source: Unsplash

Now, I completely understand that not everyone would be able to compost. Spreading awareness and contributing in whatever way you can is helpful as well. Small actions do help out in the long run! Composting is indeed a wonder, for all that it serves to our planet. It’s great for the environment and it helps to protect animals, along with all the other great benefits that it has. If you haven’t already, you should definitely consider trying it out if you can! Especially now that most of us have some free time during quarantine.

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