You’re probably aware of the changes that technology has brought to nature. Aside from the benefits of improving daily tasks, the biggest disadvantage of technological advancement is more crowded landfills. While there’s no stopping the evolution of modern technology, there are many things you can do to help conserve nature. One way to help maintain the earth’s balance is through composting.
Composting: What Is It?
Composting is done when food wastes and other biodegradable garden wastes are broken down by fungus and bacteria naturally found in soil. The resulting product is called compost which can be used as an organic fertilizer because of its rich nutrient composition.
Composting can be done outdoors or indoors. At home, you can make your own compost pit in your backyard. If you don’t have space, you can also use compost bins of varying sizes. Here are a compost bins guide to learn more. Offices can also benefit from using compost bins or have food wastes collected to be taken to a composting facility.
Benefits of Composting
Composting comes with a multitude of advantages. Not only is it beneficial for you or your garden, the environment could use a lot of these benefits.
To encourage you more to get into composting, here are the benefits:
1. Reduce waste. Food waste and other organic wastes is said to make up 30 percent of the trash in landfills. Although not all organic wastes can be used to make compost, composting can dramatically reduce waste. When organic waste decomposes in landfills, it produces methane gas, which contributes to global warming. However, composting eliminates methane gas production as organic waste is decomposed.
2. Good for plants. Adding compost into your garden soil can be beneficial for all kinds of plants. Aside from providing plants with much-needed nutrients, compost also helps neutralise your soil’s pH level. Compost improves sandy soil by helping in water and moisture retention. If you have clay soil, you can also use compost to soften its texture. Compost even helps extend the season of fruit-bearing plants because it helps moderate soil temperature.
3. Save resources. There are many resources that can be conserved by using compost. These include the following:
- Water – Because compost helps retain moisture, you don’t have to water your plants as much than without compost. When you add a thick layer of compost to your garden, it helps prevent water from evaporating as fast while also acting as mulch which prevents weed growth.
- Fuel and energy – Because composting at home keeps waste away from landfills, it saves fuel and energy in transporting these wastes. Organic wastes are heavy and would need more energy and fuel in moving them from your home into the landfill.
- Money – Saving on resources also means saving money.
4. Prevent soil erosion. Composting is a great way to minimise soil erosion by improving infiltration, binding soil together, and reducing surface flow of water. Compost acts like a glue that holds soil particles together. This is because of its high humus content.
Compost has better infiltration and permeability compared with regular soil. Because of this, it helps reduce the amount of water that flows over the soil. On-site erosion is also reduced by compost as it slows down water flow in sandy soil.
5. Help control storm water. Compost is an excellent tool which can be used along with other storm water management methods. As mentioned before, compost slows down surface flow of water.
6. Fight climate change. Because it eliminates greenhouse gases production in decomposing organic wastes, composting is a method to help battle climate change and global warming. Compost also allows the earth to improve its resilience to the harmful effects of climate change such as extreme weather and drought. This is done by helping prevent soil erosion and improving water retention in soil, as discussed above.
What to Compost
If you have food scraps whether frozen, fresh, cooked, or moldy, you can toss these into your compost pit or bin. Keep them away from your trash bins and reduce global waste while making your own organic fertilizer at home. You can also add coffee grounds, tea, leaves, grass, or plant clippings. It’s best to chop yard waste into smaller pieces before adding them into your bin or pit. Also, avoid throwing diseased plants and leaves into your bin as these can introduce bad fungi or bad bacteria and infect your compost.
Many people, however, think that all biodegradable wastes can be composted. Although natural paper products are good compost additions, glossy papers should be avoided. This is because these contain chemicals that may take a longer time to break down. Dairy and meat are also compostable, but they usually produce foul odors that can attract pests such as insects and rodents.
Avoid adding the following items into your compost pit or bin:
- Yard cuttings that contain chemical insecticides, which may potentially kill beneficial bacteria or fungi
- Animal wastes such as cat and dog feces, which may contain parasites
- Plastics, glass, or metals
- Coal ashes, which has high amounts of iron and sulfur that can damage plants
How to Make Compost
To make compost, ensure that you only add compostable materials. These are wastes that can be broken down into 2-millimeter pieces or less in 180 days (6 months). During decomposition, these materials should also not introduce harmful materials such as heavy metals into the soil.
To make that rich, black soil you can add to your garden, follow the steps below:
- Place compostable items together in a bin or compost.
- Prevent your compost from producing foul smell by adding brown paper, dried grass clippings, or dried leaves or twigs.
- When the bin or pit is full, start a new pile.
- Allow the old bin or pit to finish breaking down before using it as soil conditioner or fertilizer. You’ll know that it’s ready to use if you can’t see any pieces of recognizable food wastes.
The earth is experiencing a lot of problems today, most of which are brought about by irresponsible human activities. While national leaders are formulating solutions to these problems, you can also help in your own little way by composting your food and yard wastes. Composting comes with benefits such as improving the health of plants and the soil while also minimising the effects of global warming and climate change.