According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 28 percent of our nation’s waste consists of organic, compostable materials. If we all started composting at home, millions of tons of organic waste would be diverted from landfills, reducing greenhouse gases from hitting the atmosphere. There’s no doubt that starting a backyard compost pile can help save the environment, so why not give it a shot?
Composting is the natural decomposition of organic materials like fruits, vegetables, grass clippings, paper and more. After decaying in a concentrated environment over time, the organics transform into a natural source of nutrients for your soil.
The next time you chop up your favorite fruit salad, remind yourself of these five reasons to keep the rinds out of the dump.
Composting at home enriches your soil and absorbs water, providing the plants in your garden with a steady source of moisture and nutrients. Not only does a solid layer of compost reduce the need for watering, but it also prevents weeds from growing, similar to mulch.
Rather than dumping synthetic fertilizers and chemicals onto your garden, which will eventually enter local streams through runoff, leading to oxygen dead zones or algal blooms in our oceans, you can use compost as an alternative to synthetic fertilizers. Compost naturally contains balanced amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, and provides the beneficial microorganisms necessary for healthy soil.
“The plants love it (great in an area like ours where the soil is poor-quality) and it fertilizes your garden for nothing. Aside from the usual fruit and vegetable peelings, you can also add old coffee grounds, eggshells, ash from the fireplace, lawn clippings and even vacuum cleaner dust.”
Maya Anderson | Editor, House Nerd
Composting at home reduces your trash output, which decreases the number of trash pickups you need. Fewer trips to the dump, hauling smaller volumes of waste, means less fossil fuels burned by garbage trucks.
Not only will you save the environment by composting at home, but you’ll also keep your wallet happy. Less watering means lower water bills. Kicking the chemical fertilizers means fewer trips to the home improvement store. And infrequent trash pickups results in reduced waste fees.
One of the most important benefits of composting, and the most near and dear to us, is the reduction of methane emissions from landfills. This powerful greenhouse gas enters the atmosphere as the food in landfills decomposes without proper airflow. By composting at home, you can reduce your carbon footprint by keeping your food waste from adding to the pile.
Have you started a compost pile at home? Share your story and pictures in the comments below!