What is composting? Composting is a green way of turning organic material into fertilizer for soil. It is one way to reduce your household waste that would otherwise collect in the landfills, while providing you with an inexpensive way to replenish the soil in your garden and flower beds.
I have started my own composting bin and it has significantly reduced the amount of garbage I bring up to the curb on a weekly basis. Where I live in Eastern Ontario, we have a very limited amount of garbage that we are allowed on a weekly basis. If we exceed the limit, we need to purchase tickets from city hall for extra garbage bags. So composting has been very effective reducing our waste.
How does compost form?
Microorganisms and earthworms break down the organic materials that you put into your compost heap. When these materials have broken down, they are then in a form that becomes useful for plants to absorb.
What are some green reasons to compost?
Besides saving you money on fertilizer and reducing waste in the landfills, there are even more reasons to compost. These reasons include:
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions –
Waste that ends up in landfills produces a harmful greenhouse gas called methane. This is produced because air cannot reach the organic waste. In contrast, composting at home produces no methane, because composting ensures an adequate supply of available oxygen during decomposition.
- Less need for garbage trucks –
When you (and everyone else) throws away less garbage, not as many garbage trucks need to be out using fuel and creating further emissions that enter the air.
- Less fertilizer runoff –
If you can use compost instead of fertilizer, it means less fertilizer that gets into our rivers, lakes, and oceans. The nitrates in fertilizer are responsible for creating large algae blooms, which consume and remove the oxygen from the water, resulting in “dead zones” which cannot sustain fish and other marine life. One such “dead zone” exists in the Gulf of Mexico, and it was last recorded to be 6474 square miles in size. This would be equivalent in size to Connecticut and Rhode Island!
What can you compost?
This is not an all-inclusive list by any means, but gives you a place to begin.
- Vegetable and fruit peels
- Coffee grounds and the filter paper
- Rotten fruit
- House plants
- Leaves and grass clippings
- Tea bags and tea leaves
- Toilet paper rolls
- Eggshells (crush them)
- Old bedding plants
- Pet hair
- Brown paper bags
- Vacuum cleaner contents
- Dryer lint from natural fibers
What can you not compost?
- Kitty litter
- Animal feces
- Cooked meat, vegetables, dairy products, bread, rice or pasta
- Weeds with seeds (otherwise you’ll spread the weeds later)
- Treated wood
As you can see, composting the right kinds of materials will reduce how much you are throwing away and will benefit the planet in so many ways.
Are you composting?