Composting is nothing new. A lot of people have done it and many more have taken the initiative to change their habits and practices to help Mother Earth recover. Kudos to those who have made changes in their way of living and setting an example for the rest of the world. Whether we talk about shopping local and organic or reducing our waste, composting certainly cross our minds. With diverse products available in the market, composting need not be complicated or difficult in any way.
First, let’s talk about what is composting and why it matters. Composting is a process of decomposing food waste naturally to form precious nutrient-rich fertilizer. Creating a compost heap is not a new process, but with the explosive growth in demand for organic, natural, and homegrown foods, people are more interested than ever in embracing this sustainable practice. People are creating their compost heap at home by putting together the food waste and scraps that would normally just be thrown away.
Composting is an important practice that helps reduce the amount of methane gas released into our atmosphere. It adds to the enriched nitrogen cycle and returns nutritious soil that can be used to naturally enhance plant growth. Methane greenhouse gas is known to be 25 times deadlier than carbon dioxide. As we can see, compost can reduce and in most cases eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers. Natural compost can remediate the soil and enhance water retention.
As per the 2012 EPA statistics, Americans sent only 4.8% of food waste towards composting and the rest was sent to – you guessed it – Landfill. With more awareness generating and people/organizations taking initiative, there is hope that composting becomes second nature to everyone.
In certain provinces, there is a special garbage collection dedicated to collecting food waste. In such places, all we need to do is have a separate trashcan for compost material and keep it curbside for pickup. For those of us who are plant lovers or have backyards with plants, trees, and homegrown food, we can compost in our backyards and use it to our benefit. It is cost-effective and beneficial.
For those of us looking for instant results, electric compost machines are a good option. They can work with small frequent batches of food waste and do not take up much space.
For those who can do outdoor composting, there are two methods: Cold compost and Hot compost. Cold compost is where you dump appropriate food waste in a bin and in about a year you can enjoy natural compost for your plants. Hot composting is a calculated and faster process that yields compost in one to three months. The ingredients required are food waste, nitrogen, water, air, and carbon. Together these ingredients feed the microorganisms and speed up the process.
There are a few rules as to what can and cannot be added to compost. Ingredients such as fruit scraps, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, grass and plant clippings, dry leaves, straw, and sawdust from untreated wood can be added. What cannot be added is anything containing meat, oil, fat, or grease, diseased plant materials, sawdust, or chips from pressure-treated wood, dog or cat feces, weeds that go to seed and dairy products.
No matter which route you use, reducing waste, reducing the amount of methane gas, and using fresh, natural compost to tend to our plants is certainly a significant way to be more earth-friendly.
BONUS: Put some home-made compost in a pretty jar and tie burlap/jute ribbon. It makes for a lovely present for your gardener/plant lover friend.
At Green Schools Green Future, we strive to educate children and everybody else about the benefits of natural, clean, and green living. Composting, along with aquaponics, vertical farming, and hydroponics remains at the core of our curriculum.
If you would like to become part of our organization and help kids grow the green and clean way, support us by making a generous donation. Click Here.
By Kritika Rao