6 reasons you should start composting

Composting is a natural approach to waste reduction as it uses our food waste to feed organisms such as bacteria, insects, fungi, lichen and plants. Here are 6 reasons why you should start composting at home.

6 reasons you should start composting

1. Diverts waste from the landfill

Biodegradable waste is less likely to decay in landfills because the conditions aren't right – there is not enough moisture or air, and a high presence of deadly chemicals kills soil organisms. At home, you can compost all year round. As food scraps break down into compost, you can add them to your garden where they can further decompose and nourish soil organisms, fungi, plants and eventually you. The amount of waste you can divert by composting depends on the products that you buy and use, but even small amounts can make a difference.

2. Doesn't cost a penny

Compost becomes soil. Buying organic compost or high-quality soil can be expensive, so using a compost bin can save you serious money. Simply toss food scraps ("green" materials) together with newspaper, dried leaves, dried straw and corrugated cardboard ("brown" materials) into the compost bin and turn the mixture over every so often to introduce air into the bin.

3. Restores our soils

Restoring our soils with compost feeds innumerable species of bacteria, fungi, insects, lichen and algae. We know relatively little about some of these critters and organisms, especially the bacteria, but the more we learn, the more we realize how critical they are for healthy plant growth. Soil health also contributes enormously to the nutritional content of the plants growing in the soil.

4. Sequesters carbon from the atmosphere

Adding compost to soil – along with leaves, which protect the soil from the hot sun rays – retains moisture and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. This is most effective when the soil isn't disturbed too much, so the emphasis should be on a no-till method in which the soil is aerated but not tossed. With this approach, nutrients are purposefully developed so that plants and soil can pull carbon from the surrounding air.

5. Requires little effort

Composting is easy as long as you mix in plenty of brown materials with your green food waste materials. This, in combination with proper oxygenation provided by turning the pile, will ensure that your compost smells great and decomposes quickly.

6. Makes a great DIY project

You can make a compost bin from re-purposed materials. Simply use what you have around the house for a container and drill holes into the sides. For example, you could make a compost bin out of a plastic storage bin, old dresser drawer or re-purposed bucket.

Composting is free, fun and good for the environment, so why not get started today!

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