Why is it so important to compost your organic waste, you will know everything about compost after reading this article.
What Is Composting?
Composting is the natural process of recycling organic waste (fruits, vegetables, etc.) into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich the soil and plants. This natural process transforms organic matter into a soil-like product called compost, which then becomes humus in the soil.
This process is the result of the fermentation of biodegradable waste in contact with micro-organisms (bacteria and fungi) and oxygen. Everything that grows eventually decomposes; composting only speeds up the process by providing an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi and other decomposing organisms (such as worms, woodlice and nematodes) to do their work. The resulting decomposed material, which often resembles fertile garden soil, is compost. It is rich in nutrients and can be used for gardening, horticulture and agriculture.
Indeed, once the organic matter has decomposed, it is transformed into simple elements that can be assimilated by plants and will continue to be transformed in the soil to form humus. Humus plays a key role in fertility, and composting is therefore of primary importance in the natural garden.
Organic waste can be processed in industrial-scale composting facilities, in smaller-scale community composting systems and in anaerobic digesters, among other options.
Why is it important to compost organic waste?
Compost has a number of benefits that not everyone is aware of. Here are some examples:
- Organic waste in landfills generates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. By composting food waste and other organic materials, methane emissions are significantly reduced.
- Compost reduces and, in some cases, eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Compost promotes better crop yields.
- Compost can contribute to reforestation, wetland restoration and habitat revitalisation efforts by improving contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils.
- Compost can be used to remediate soils contaminated with hazardous waste in a cost-effective manner.
- Compost can save money compared to conventional soil, water and air remediation technologies, where appropriate.
- Compost improves water retention in soils.
- Compost enables carbon sequestration.
Whether you compost organic waste at home, or in an industrial composting facility, you will reduce significantly your greenhouse emissions, and have a nutrient-rich soil.
But how do you compost at home?
- Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.
- Lay twigs or straw first, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile.
- Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. If you have wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers, or they will clump together and be slow to break down.
- Add manure, green manure (clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along.
- Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let rain do the job.
If you want to know how to compost even without a garden we invite you to read our article “You can compost at home with Bokashi“.
Did you know?
The great news is that food waste is not the only thing we cancompost, but there are also a lot of others everyday objects that we add to the compost pile:
- 1️⃣ Your hair can be added to the compost pile. Fallen hair is dead, and will decompose in the soil.
- 2️⃣ Coffee filters (as long as they are 100% paper) can be composted, along with the coffee grounds inside!
- 3️⃣ Cardboard egg boxes can be composted, but we recommend chopping them in little pieces to make the process easier.
- 4️⃣ Wooden toothpicks (and all wooden objects) are compostable.
- 5️⃣ Your nail clippings can also be added to the compost safely if they are free from nail polish.
- 6️⃣ Paper napkins (and everything made of paper like paper ear buds or q-tips) can be added to the compost pile.
- 7️⃣ Wine corks (as long as it’s natural cork) can be added to the compost pile, as cork is a natural product.