In honor of Earth Day, I’ve decided to give all you lovely composters a pat on the back and explain how backyard composting benefits our planet. So here are the top three environmental reasons to compost (a.k.a. how to green-guilt your friends and family into starting a compost bin of their own).
1. DIY Soil Enhancer
Finished compost adds important nutrients to your soil and since it’s homemade, you’re not driving to the store to purchase a prepackaged bag of fertilizer that was shipped from who knows where. Compost additionally improves our heavy clay soils by adding a much sought after humus layer in which plants thrive.
But get this- compost also binds heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and other nasties to prevent them from migrating into the water or being absorbed by plants (www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/rrr/composting/benefits.htm).
I definitely prefer my broccoli without a side of PAH.
2. Saving the Climate Naturally
Bear with me, I’m about to get all sciency. When plants decompose, they naturally release the carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbed during their life. Plants - and their food counterparts - also do this in your compost bin. It’s okay, that’s what they’re supposed to do.
But when buried in the landfill with no air, food and yard waste decompose anaerobically and release… (scary organ music: da...da...daaa) …methane instead. The problem is that methane traps heat almost 21 times more effectively than CO2.
In other words, composting in your backyard reduces greenhouse gas impact and global climate change. Yay for you!
3. Reduce Waste
Food and yard waste make up almost half of what residents send to the landfill. Composting means you put less waste at the curb leading to lighter garbage and yard waste trucks, longer life at the landfill, and smiles all around.
Composting has quite a few other benefits I have not mentioned, such as reducing water usage, preventing erosion, and decreasing fertilizers in storm water. If you can think of any others, please post a comment.
Backyard composting is not just fun (hey, I’m easily amused), it kicks some serious patooty in the environmental benefit arena. We composters really celebrate earth day, every day.
Happy Earth Day!!!!