Top 10 Benefits of Composting for Humans & Environment
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Many of us know that composting is one of the best ways to recycle organic waste and reduce waste at home.
But did you know that composting has plenty of other benefits for human society, the economy, and the environment?
Today, we will take a closer look at the 10 benefits of composting and why starting a compost at home is such a great idea.
Let’s get started with the obvious ones.
1. Composting reduces waste in landfills
According to studies, food is the largest single source of waste in many countries.
In fact, more food ends up as waste in landfills than plastic or paper in the US alone!
Considering that millions of people are starving worldwide, it’s such a shame that tons of food is wasted every day.
Not only is this a waste of valuable resources, but if we don’t do something about it, our landfills will soon be overrun by trash – most of which is food waste.
Hence, starting a compost at home is an excellent way to reduce waste in landfills.
And the good news? It isn’t that hard to start a compost at home.
All you need is an indoor compost bin for your kitchen or a compost pit in your backyard, and you’re good to go.
There are also plenty of free resources online on starting a simple compost at home.
2. Composting reduces greenhouse gasses (GHGs)
We know that composting reduces the amount of waste in our landfills.
But how does it help reduce GHG emissions?
Well, less waste means garbage trucks will be on the road less, which means fewer carbon emissions.
Some waste in landfills will also be burned through incinerators, and that can also be lessened if more people compost their organic waste.
And there’s more.
Rotting food and organic waste in landfills emit methane, one of the greenhouse gasses responsible for global warming.
Needless to say, if every household starts composting, landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions will be significantly reduced.
3. Compost helps reduce chemical fertilizer usage
As we already know, chemical fertilizers have various negative impacts on the environment.
For starters, they contain chemicals that can pollute the soil and contaminate nearby water sources.
Continuous use of chemical fertilizers will also drive away essential microorganisms that help produce quality crops.
Furthermore, commercial fertilizers are manufactured, shipped, and applied to farms and plants, resulting in massive carbon emissions.
Many chemical fertilizers also contain ingredients that are derived from nonrenewable petroleum products.
By using compost, we can avoid (or minimize) the harmful effects of using chemical fertilizers.
4. Applying compost can help clean the ocean
Water from rivers, brooks, and other sources will eventually go back to the ocean – including those that chemical fertilizers have contaminated.
Did you know that besides plastic trash, one of the culprits of the destruction of marine habitats and ecosystems is acidifying fertilizers and chemicals used in farming?
Hence, using compost as an alternative to the traditional fertilizers in agricultural lands will help protect the ocean and marine animals.
5. Compost has anti-erosion capabilities
In connection to composting ability to regulate water sources, compost reduces the chances of erosion.
Why? Compost allows water to penetrate up to the rock layers.
Unhealthy dry soils prevent water from reaching deeper layers forming swells at the topsoil.
These water swells will flow to lower elevations bringing bits of soil into it, reforming the actual structure of the area.
Compost cultivates soil preventing these water swells that can deform land.
6. You can save money by composting
Are you a green thumb?
People with home gardens and micro farms can reduce their need for chemical fertilizers by composting.
Compost is one of the best fertilizers for plants and crops.
It is 100% natural, organic, and chemical-free.
And the best part?
You can get compost for free from the organic waste you create at home every day.
Fruits and vegetable peels, food scraps, eggshells, newspaper, cardboard boxes, twigs, and dried leaves – these are waste that can become compost for free!
7. Compost helps water retention of soil
Another benefit of composting is that compost as fertilizer helps soil retain water.
(If this surprised you, we didn’t know compost can hold moisture before either)
In a study, researchers found out that adding compost can help increase the water holding capacity of the soil.
They estimate that a 1% increase in soil organic matter (such as compost) helps the soil hold 20,000 gallons more water per acre!
This is very helpful to farmers, especially during summer and droughts!
And if you look at the bigger picture, using compost can help reduce the need for irrigation on farms.
8. Using compost can improve soil quality
In many urban and agricultural areas, soil quality is poor and is steadily diminishing.
This is due to exposure to fertilizers, pesticides, and harsh chemicals.
One of the simplest and easiest ways to improve soil quality is adding compost to them.
When compost breaks down, it delivers various nutrients that the soil needs.
Moreover, compost also helps increase the number and variety of beneficial bacteria and fungi in the soil, which helps plants grow healthy.
9. Compost helps produce healthier plants and crops naturally
Like a healthy human body, healthy soil creates a strong immune system in the plant.
As the soil becomes rich because of compost, your crops will naturally grow healthier.
Moreover, healthy soil reduces the chance of plant diseases and pests.
Of course, applying compost will not guarantee a 100% abundant harvest, but it does offer a higher rate of healthier produce.
A compost-treated farm will help keep the nutrient balance within the soil, ensuring that your crops get the nutrients they need while being protected from pests.
10. Composting is a brilliant way to recycle kitchen waste
The benefits of composting food waste in your home is plenty.
However, not all kitchen wastes can be composted.
But most food wastes like fruit and vegetable peels, leftovers, and rotten crops can be used as compost.
We all have these in our homes, but we don’t utilize them as much because throwing them out is easier.
But now that you know the many benefits of composting for humans and the environment, we hope you will do the right thing.
Instead of simply throwing them in the bin to be sent to landfills, we should use kitchen waste to better our society and the planet.
We can turn what is supposed to be garbage into something valuable that can help refill our sources for food and other necessities through composting.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Composting Guide for Beginners
Like many people at this moment, you might be thinking how to compost at home.
Well, it is pretty simple.
As we discussed above, compostable materials can be found everywhere.
It could be wastes or scraps from the last food you ate, fallen leaves outside your home, or some compostable packaging from the zero waste personal products you bought.
After collecting these compostable materials, you’ll need a compost pit where you will put all the organic waste you’ve gathered mixed with water.
You can also use an indoor compost bin that you can put in your kitchen as it is more convenient.
Different Kinds of Compost
Compost can be categorized into two kinds of ingredients:
- Greens – They are compost rich in nitrogen and protein. They include vegetable wastes, fruit peels, eggshells, grass-eating animal manure are some of the examples.
- Browns – These kinds of compost materials are rich in carbohydrates. They are food sources for organisms that break down the contents of your compost pile. Some examples of brown composts are dried leaves, sawdust, paper, and hay.
What are the things you shouldn’t compost?
At this point, you might be excited to start composting.
However, you might be thinking:
“Can I compost all waste at home?”
Below are the 5 organic wastes that you shouldn’t compost.
- Pet poop – Pet poop, especially from dogs and cats, is not advisable to be composted as they contain parasites and microorganisms that shouldn’t be introduced to edible crops. But if you want to, you can compost dog and cat poop separately using a special pet waste composter. (PS. Manures from chicken and other poultry animals can be added to your compost.)
- Teabags – Most tea bags contain synthetic fibers and nylon that will not break down naturally in a compost pile.
- Meat scraps – The smell of these food leftovers can attract pests such as rats, raccoons, or wild cats who will ransack the compost pile.
- Large pieces of wood and branches – They will take a long time to break down compared to other items in your compost pile and will delay your ability to use your compost.
- Plastic coated or glossy paper – These paper types contain inorganic materials that won’t decompose properly and might contain toxic chemicals.
For more information on different things, you should not compost, click here.
There you have it, folks.
While it doesn’t sound too impressive, and many people take it for granted, composting can help address many environmental issues.
We even dare say it could be the best way to save our planet from being overrun by trash!
Besides reducing the waste in landfills and allowing you to recycle organic waste at home, there are many benefits of composting.
After reading this article, we are hoping that you are now more knowledgeable than ever about the environmental, economic, and social benefits of composting.