facts about compost

7 Important Facts About Composting That You Need to Know

There are many misconceptions and misinformation about composting that people believe. But the truth is that many people haven’t taken the time or had the opportunity to learn the facts about composting and why it’s important.

This post explores a number of thing that you may not know about the importance of composting, how to compost, and how the whole process works

facts about compost

FACT #1: COMPOSTING IS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

I was talking to a friend once about why he doesn’t compost. He didn’t understand the point of composting if he wasn’t interested in gardening.

“My food scraps will decompose in the trash just fine!” is what he said to me.

Oh how I wish that were true.

The sad fact is that food absolutely does not turn to compost in landfills.

The microorganisms that turn organic waste into compost need air in order to survive and do the work of composting.

But when we throw our trash away, what do we put it inside of?

A plastic bag. Where no air can get in.

And that plastic bag gets compacted with tons of other plastic bags in the landfill until there’s absolutely no chance of any air reaching the precious food scraps within.

So what happens to the half-eaten sandwiches, moldy carrots, and rotten leftover spaghetti? It just sits there taking up space for all eternity.

Just kidding, they do eventually decompose. But its takes a veeeeeeeeeeeerrrrryy long time, and instead of healthy little aerobic microorganisms decomposing the foods, the job is done instead by anaerobic bacteria.

Which is bad, because those bacteria release methane, and lots of it.

And the trouble with methane is that it leaks out into the atmosphere and traps heat inside the earth, which we all know is not good.

According to sources, municipal solid waste landfills (where most household trash goes) are made up of about 30% organic waste. That is 30 percent of the waste taking up space in the landfill could have been turned into beautiful compost instead.

It also means that if you compost your food scraps and other organic waste, you could reduce the amount of trash you send to the landfill by one-third.

FACT ABOUT COMPOST#2: YOU CAN COMPOST EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A YARD

Just because you live in an apartment or don’t have a yard doesn’t mean you can’t compost. Whether you utilize an indoor method of composting or donate your kitchen scraps to an avid composter in your area, there’s always an option to dispose of your organic waste in a way that doesn’t involve sending it to the landfill.

FACT #3: COMPOSTING IS SMELLY AND UNSIGHTLY

If you use a traditional method of composting like open air composting where you just dump your waste in a pile outside and never make any effort to care for it, then yes this is probably true. But the fact is that a compost pile that is properly cared for will not smell bad, and is a sign that your waste is not decomposing properly.

There are also plenty of different types of containers designed to keep your compost pile out of sight, and many of them are perfectly pleasing to the eye! Your neighbors won’t mind it at all.

FACT #4: COMPOSTING SAVES ENERGY

It’s bad to fill up the landfills. But when you throw away food scraps, your waste management service also uses up energy and resources transporting that waste to the landfill.

When you keep your waste at home and recycle it into compost instead, the trash truck won’t have to waste any fuel getting your potato peels and watermelon rinds to a different location. It can all happily stay home with you, improving your soil and keeping your plants healthy!

FACT #5: FINISHED COMPOST IS EXCELLENT FERTILIZER FOR YOUR LAWN

The soil around is constantly being depleted of nutrients and subject to erosion. Composting can help with both!

When you finally have finished compost (after a few months or a year, depending on your method. Patience is key!), one of the best ways to use it is to sprinkle it evenly around your yard.

In doing so, you’ll add lots of organic matter back to the earth for your grass to feed on. You’ll get greener, healthier grass in return (sans dangerous chemicals!).

FACT ABOUT COMPOST #6: COMPOSTING IS TONS OF FUN

When the day comes to finally harvest your precious compost, I guarantee you’ll be hooked for life.

There’s nothing more satisfying than spending months collecting kitchen scraps and lawn trimmings, making sure your pile gets turned and watered appropriately, protecting it from various creatures that might seek to disturb it, and then one day finally open your compost bin to reveal beautiful compost that is completely finished!

Every bit of that gorgeous soil used to be a disgusting mess of banana peels, coffee grounds, and dead leaves. And it only became this beautiful product because of your efforts!

Few things come close to that feeling of satisfaction, and it makes the whole process totally worth it.

FACT #7: COMPOSTING SAVES MONEY

Another fact about composting is that it can save you quite a bit of money, especially if you’re already an avid gardener.

  • Save money on fertilizer: Store bought fertilizer is quite expensive, and not as rich in nutrients as homegrown compost. And composting yourself is almost completely free once you have the right supplies!
  • Lower your water bill: Soil that contains a healthy amount of compost retains water much more effectively than soil without. Over the course of time, you may find that you don’t need to water your garden or lawn as often or as much anymore because of the compost you’ve applied. You’ll save oodles on your water bill in the summer!
  • Reduce garbage disposal costs: If you have a service come and pick up your trash each week, then you know that they definitely don’t do it for free! And the more garbage there is for them to pick up, the higher their costs are. If more people collectively decide to compost, there will be less trash for them to deal with, and we could see a reduction in our monthly bills.

FACT #9: COMPOSTING IS GOOD FOR YOUR PLANTS

A healthy dose of compost is just what the doctor ordered for many of your house and garden plants.

You won’t want to pot your plans in only compost, but soil that’s made up of about 25-30 percent compost will be a real treat for new little seedlings, and established plants will appreciate some compost added directly to the ground around the stem.

Just make sure you don’t let the compost actually touch th stem of the plant as the composting microorganisms may start to do their decomposing work on the living plant itself!

FACT #10: COMPOSTING MAKES YOUR HOME SMELL BETTER

Composting gets a bad rap for being smelly, but since I started composting, my trash never smells any more. Prior to beginning my composting ventures, it wouldn’t take long for the trash can to get full of stinky vegetable peels and rotten leftovers. Of course I’d procrastinate taking the trash out, and before long, the smell would permeate the whole kitchen. It was a rather unpleasant ordeal that happened every couple of days!

But now I collect all of my kitchen scraps in a container in the refrigerator. They don’t get rotten in there! When the container is full (usually about once a day) I carry it over to my compost pile. My kitchen smells perfectly fresh all the time!

THOSE ARE THE FACTS ABOUT COMPOST!

Composting isn’t as difficult or complicated a many people believe. It’s easy to do in most living situations, which means that everyone can take part in reducing waste and caring for our earth.

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