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Why Do People Compost?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 1

Discover the Benefits of Composting at Home

Compost Bin(110509)
Compost is a dark, nutrient-rich organic material that is the result of decomposed garden, yard, and kitchen waste. Why do people compost? In this article you will learn the main benefits of composting and why you should start composting food scraps at home.

There are two primary reasons people compost their food scraps and/or garden scraps:

1. Throwing food scraps in the trash is bad for the environment.
Taking responsibility for your own organic waste (food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, etc) through composting positively impacts the environment in several ways.
  • Composting keeps food scraps out of the landfill - Food scraps that go to the landfill mixed with trash do break down but they create harmful methane gas in the process. In the composting process, food scraps (nitrogen) are mixed with dead leaves (carbon) and turned occasionally to add much needed oxygen to the process. Without the carbon source and the oxygen, landfills create dangerous gases that are harmful to the environment.
  • Composting at home reduces pollution and saves gas  
    Commercial Composting Facility
    - Imagine how few garbage pick ups would be needed if no one put food scraps in the trash can. The garbage truck comes down my street once per week but my family's trash can is less than half full. We would be fine with half as many garbage pick ups which equals half as much pollution. Most large cities also have an organic waste truck that picks up sticks, leaves, small branches, etc weekly. After they pick the organic waste it is composted it in a large facility and then sell the compost back to residents. The city often picks up your leaves in the fall, composts them, and then sells them back to you. Wouldn’t it be more efficient and cost effective to compost them yourself?
  • Compost Happens, Composting is a Natural Process - The most important thing to remember when starting to think about composting is: Compost Happens! Composting is a natural process. It is going to happen. You are simply going to try to manage the process so that you get the most out of it. Compost is organic matter (stuff that used to be alive) decomposing or breaking down. Without human intervention, compost happens all over the place. One example is the leaves on a forest floor. Every fall many trees drop their leaves which slowly compost on the forest floor nourishing the tree.
    Compost is Valuable!
2. Compost is valuable! Adding compost to any plant will make it healthier. Compost is especially useful for vegetable or flower gardeners but it can also be used by anyone that wants to make their house plants healthier or even their lawn grow thicker and greener. Compost not only helps plants grow, it also makes them healthier which helps them fight off diseases and insect pests.
  • Composting saves you money - Anyone who does gardening of any type (vegetables, flowers, potted plants, indoor plants, etc) uses some type of soil amendment or fertilizer to give their plants a boost. If you compost your food scraps and leaves at home, you will have have a FREE source of the best organic fertilizer and soil amendment there is (Compost!).
  • Your Compost is Organic - chemical fertilizers do make plants grow but they degrade your soil making it harder and harder to grow food and flowers. Adding organic compost naturally improves your soil. If you consistently add homemade compost, your soil and your garden will be healthy and more lush each year.
    Top Dressing Plants with Compost
  • Plants need more Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (NKP) - Most commercial chemical fertilizers only include Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium but all plants also need dozens of micronutrients that are not included in these commercial fertilizers. Compost that you make at home in a home compost pile includes many more of the micro nutrients that plants need. Additionally, compost is alive with beneficial micro-organisms (we can’t see them) and acts like an organic fertilizer for any type of plant.
    Keep your food scraps in the freezer
  • The compost you make at home is better than compost you can buy in a store - Most compost that is sold commercially is made from one source (cow manure, mushroom compost, etc). The compost you make at home will come from a variety of different sources: many types of vegetable scraps, different types of leaves, etc. More variety in a system makes that system healthier and more stable.
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Comments

Mar 3, 2014 8:24pm
AstroGremlin
Enjoyed your article on composting. I compost grass clippings and leaves, and pretty much everything else. I've been thinking about how much grass clippings weigh, and how much fuel it takes to power those trucks to carry them around for us. Even when my composter is full, I open the lid on my green waste bin to let it dry out.
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