Over the past few decades, there has been a huge push for people to be more environmentally friendly. While there are a lot of different things you can do that will create a positive influence on the environment, there is one very simple thing that not a lot of people have quite taken full advantage of yet.
That thing is composting.
Composting is the purposeful decomposition of organic material until it turns into stable and useful material. Organic materials that can be composted include things like coffee grounds, egg shells, yard trimmings, food scraps, paper, and certain compostable packaging containers and cutlery.
Composting can either be done individually or commercially. When compostable material is taken to a composting facility, that material is typically shredded into even pieces before turning into “feedstock”. The feedstock is then set to certain moisture, heat, and oxygen levels in order for it to be completely composted in a maximum of 180 days. On the other hand, when you compost on your own, you add all of your organic material together and mix it each time you contribute more material into your compost pile. When your compost pile no longer emits an odor and turns dark and crumbly like soil, you then know it is time to use that compost for the greater good.
The EPA reported that the US composted 82 million tons of material in 2009. The result of this amount of composting may be shocking. This prevented about 178 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from being released into the air. This mere act of composting is comparable to 33 million cars being taken off the road for an entire year.
These stats show just how influential composting can be to the environment. With just a small bit of effort on our part, we can contribute to the positive environmental effects composting has on the world around us. The air we breathe gets cleaner, creating a lively habitat for humans, animals, and plants alike.
Compost has many benefits when mixed with soil for gardens or yards.
- Raise the integrity of soil’s appearance, texture, and structure
- Curb plant disease and weed growth
- Cancel need for chemical fertilizers
- Absorbs moisture to stop erosion and prevent pollutants from reaching water sources
- Natural fertilizer
- Nutrient-rich conditioner for soil
By adding compost to your soil, you are creating a healthier environment for plants to grow and, in turn, become an even greater benefit to the foliage around them.
Not only are there environmental perks to composting, but there are also economical perks as well. By choosing to compost your waste as opposed to sending it all to a landfill, you can save on your garbage bill. Depending on the area in which you live, there could also be added savings in tax credits and other discounts for businesses who support composting.
Many individuals and businesses have already began implementing compost and compostable materials into their routines. The Recology San Francisco reported that various local restaurants are composting over 75% of their waste, providing them with discounts up to 75% on their garbage bills. Other restaurants in a Santa Barbara mall food court have introduced composting to their businesses and have seen savings of over $13,000 per year. If their businesses and restaurants continued to pursue a compostable lifestyle, they could save even more money by using compostable packaging containers and serviceware.
After seeing all the ways in which using compost and compostable material can assist in the development of healthy and robust plant life, a more stable planet, and monetary savings, it seems like an easy choice to make the simple act of composting a part of your life.