So you want to live green and reduce your environmental impact, then think about composting. The benefits of composting are numerous, from reducing the solid waste you send to the landfill to creating a nutrient rich, organic additive for your organic garden. Donít have a garden? No problem. Weíll also cover a variety of non-garden compost uses that can benefit the environment and save you money.
The simple act of composting is an easy step toward green living. Composting is natureís way of recycling. Redirecting your yard and household organic waste to a compost system can reduce your landfill contribution by as much as 30%. If every household in America composted all of their compostable waste, then we could extend the life of our landfills by 50%. Diverting household waste from landfills reduces the formation of methane gas and leachate in landfills. Less garbage means less plastic garbage bags, less fuel to run the garbage trucks, and lower sanitation bills if you pay by volume. If these benefits arenít enough to convince you to start composting, read on to see what the final compost product can do for your garden, your yard, and you.
In your garden, compost will act as a soil conditioner. Compost can transform even the most useless clay into productive soil for your vegetables, flowers, and lawn. Mix it into existing dirt or clay to add nutrient-rich humus for plant growth and better crop yield. Plants need macronutrients like potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen as well as micronutrients like copper, zinc, iron and manganese. Compost provides these nutrients and also adds beneficial microscopic organisms that help aerate the soil, fight plant diseases, and break down other organic matter in the soil for a continuous supply of nutrients. When compost is mixed into soil, it improves the soil structure so it will retain moisture better. This means you can water less often and use less water when you do. If you are trying to grow organic vegetables, then compost is the perfect alternative to chemical fertilizers. Because you know exactly what goes into the compost you make, you can be sure of its organic integrity.
So, what if you donít have a garden? You can use the compost in your yard too! It makes a great erosion deterrent. Spread it around bare roots, along stream banks, on hillsides and around ponds to reduce erosion and turf loss. Apply a liberal layer of compost around trees and bushes in place of mulching. Like mulch, compost will keep moisture from evaporating. Think of the money youíll save on your next visit to the nursery when you donít have to buy as much mulch. Youíll also see the saving in your water bill. If you have children, get them involved. It can be a fun science experiment. Plus, itís one of the best ways to help them understand that managing our waste properly can change a negative environmental impact like sending waste to the landfill into a positive one like using compost instead of chemical fertilizers.
Finally, there is the personal satisfaction of knowing you are doing something thatís good for the environment and part of a sustainable lifestyle.