There are many reasons why you should start composting if you haven’t already.
Composting is a way to recycle and reuse organic waste that you would normally throw away. Creating compost is easy and free!
It’s a cycle that nature has perfected and performed for billions of years. We should all learn from the ways of nature to improve the way we live.
1. Build a healthy garden ecosystem
Compost feeds the garden, helps retain moisture, contributes to fewer plant pests and disease, and keeps your soil’s pH balanced. This leads to better/more plant growth and tastier produce. It also encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus (a rich nutrient-filled material), while improving soil texture for better moisture retention.
2. Grow thriving plants and tastier produce
This one goes along with the point above, but a healthy garden ecosystem will lead to more productive plant growth. Compost slowly releases its nutrients, so there is never a risk of burning your plants.
3. Limit waste & reduce carbon footprint
60 billion lbs of food alone go to the landfill each year. The discarded food is not able to break down easily in the landfill and instead emits methane (a harmful greenhouse gas). Compostable items do not biodegrade in landfills because organics need oxygen, water, the perfect nitrogen to carbon ratio, and some mixing from time to time to be successful!
The same goes for yard waste (grass clippings, pruned branches). Instead of throwing yard waste in the garbage, add it to the compost pile. In certain cities, if you have too much yard waste to compost, you can have the debris picked up and brought to a place to be composted. In Virginia Beach, we have curbside yard waste pick-up. Make 4×4 piles of larger branches and place smaller debris in clear trash bags. Put these next to your trash bins on your normal trash day for the city to pick up and compost.
4. Save money in the garden
Composting is completely free and lets you save money on water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Compost is a natural fertilizer that can be mixed into soils or used as a top-dressing.
5. Fight soil erosion
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States loses more than 2 billion tons of topsoil each year to erosion (EPA). Erosion removes fertile soil rich in nutrients and organic matter, which reduces the ability of plants to establish, grow and remain healthy in the soil.
When used as a topdressing, compost can actually prevent soil erosion. With topsoil covered under a protective layer of compost, it is not subjected to rain and winds that can wash the soil away.