How You Can Start Saving the World: Why Composting Is the Way of the Future
Updated: May 9
What is Composting
Compost is defined as decayed organic matter. This is a natural process that breaks down natural products and restores its nutrients into its environment. All natural matter that breaks down can be defined as compost. The fallen leaves, branches and other waste on a forest floor will decay and turn into a type of compost that has nutrients that the forest will reuse naturally.
Composting creates the perfect environment for naturally occurring microbes to break down organic materials. Helping to decomposing the matter while maximizing the nutrients in the resulting soil. If you turn your compost pile from time to time, it allows oxygen to enter your compost, aiding in the decomposition process, this is crucial in reducing harmful methane gas output.
Why Composting is the Way of the Future
Being able to compost all organic matter that we use is a crucial step in advancing as a species and reducing our impact on the earth.
“The most important thing for people to know is there is no such thing as ‘away’ when things are thrown away they must go somewhere.” Says Sam Wetzel, the executive director of Common Good City Farm.
Composting is not only a great way to reduce the enormous output of greenhouse gases caused by humans, but also helps to restore the natural processes of the planet. This is crucial for humans to continue to feed future generations, especially with an increasing population and lack of resources. With humans creating millions of tons of waste per day, we are taking nutrients from the earth and these products cannot not be broken down so that their nutrients can return to the earth. In fact, most products have chemicals or additives that have harmful effects on the environment when they are not disposed of correctly. “The Earth needs to eat like everything else,” Wetzel said. She explains that by composting fruit and vegetable scraps instead of sending them to landfill, individuals give these natural materials the opportunity to break down into nutrients, allowing them to come full circle and “feed the plants as well as feed the soil itself.”
By composting our organic waste at home and buying compost-friendly products like Tano Packaging, we significantly reduce our own carbon footprints and help restore organic nutrients to the earth.
Composting is the fastest way to restore organic nutrients to the earth in a non harmful way. Currently compostable products are leading the way in biodegradability, most compostable products can break down quickly even when littered on the street.
Even recyclable products need to reach the correct facilities to be correctly decomposed. However, 1/3 of recycled products don’t reach the recycling centers necessary to break them down in a way that's non-harmful to the environment.
Benefits of Composting
It is far less harmful to the earth if waste is able to be composted, as the matter can be broken down and the nutrients re enter the natural environment.
If food trash goes into a landfill, it emits greenhouse gases when it breaks down. By composting your food waste you can minimize these emissions.
Composting helps to reduce carbon in the environment. This is a process called carbon sequestration. Meaning it can take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and trap it in the soil. This helps to slow the warming of the planet.
Compost is a natural fertilizer that is great for using in your garden, reducing the need for artificial fertilizers which can harm the environment. Compost is a great option for an organic fertilizer in your garden.
Compostable or natural products can naturally break down in any environment, even if they get littered on a street or into a river. The materials will decompose and re enter the surrounding environment. Compare this to trash or man made plastics which can take 1000s of years to break down if not disposed of correctly. Even recycling products need to enter the right recycling facility to not have a damaging effect on the environment. Most recyclable products just end up in landfill anyway.
What Products can you Compost
Basically all natural products can be composted. Apple cores, Banana Peels, Egg Shells, Avocado pits, Potato skins, any fruit or vegetable product is compostable. Grains and nuts can break down in your compost pile. So stale bread, cereals, oats, nuts and pastas can be thrown out. Other kitchen products like eggs, coffee, tea and herbs and spices can be composted as well. Even old newspapers can be put in your compost bin. When composted these items break down in a nutrient rich fertilizer that can be used in your garden.
Composting is also a great way to break down the green waste you create in your garden, like lawn cuttings, hedge or tree trimmings and flowers.
Currently, not many man-made products can be put into your compost pile. But that is changing, some packaging products are now being created so that they can break down naturally and be composted. These products are being covered in a material call PHA, which helps to naturally decompose the materials it is placed on.
PHA is the only marine degradable packaging. This means that it is water resistant so can hold liquid or food but is still marine biodegradable, able to safely decay in a river or ocean.
PHA coating allows products to be effectively broken down in all environments, such as a landfill or waste treatment centre, the sidewalk, the ocean or the forest.
This is a brand new technology that is revolutionizing the single use packaging items, as it completely eliminates their harm to the environment. Coffee cups or takeaway food containers can be littered on the street and break down in 30-60 days with no negative effect on the environment if covered in PHA coating.
Check out all of Tåno' Packaging products here, theyre all compost friendly!
What Products Cannot be Composted
All single use plastics are unable to be composted, we produce over 300 million tons of single use plastic every year. None of these items can break down naturally, so a lot end up in landfills and are burnt or buried, releasing harmful carbon atoms and methane gases into the environment. A large amount also ends up in the waterways and oceans, this has a dramatic effect on the aquatic wildlife and ocean health.
The household items that cannot be composted are mainly animal products. These items are organic products and do decay naturally but you should not put them in your household compost pile.
There are two reasons that dairy products, fish, poultry or red meats can’t be composted. The first is the smell. It is impossible to have a compost inside if you use these products as it creates a smell of rotting flesh, introducing disease through flies and maggots. The smell is even unbearable if you have animal products in your compost pile in your backyard. It also slows down the composting process, bones and other animal materials take a lot longer to break down that plant products.
How to Start Composting at Home
To begin composting at home, you just simply need a container, or large bin. Some soil, or compost and organic waste.
Use something like this Garden Composter Bin. These are great to put in your garden or back yard, they hold 400+ liters of compost material and helps turn your waste to compost in 4-6 weeks.
You can even just get a large cheap bin with a lid from your local department store. When you get the bin, drill some holes in the bottom and side to ensure ventilation, this will speed up the composting process. Place your bin on top of another item to collect all water and liquid that drains out of your compost.
When you start your compost heap, add a little bit of garden soil and compost to the bottom of the pile to help it get a running start. This will introduce bacteria to fasten the decomposing process. It also helps to minimize the smell.
Once you have your compost container set up with holes and some soil and compost inside it, you are ready to start putting your kitchen and garden waste inside and letting it compost into fertilizer.
Another tip for composting is to cut all compostable matter into smaller pieces to help the decomposing process.
Be sure to mix and water your compost every week or two, this helps for circulating air and creating a more balanced compost. Water it when it looks like it is drying out, as you want to keep your compost pile moist, not too wet or dry. This is the perfect environment for organic matter to break down.
If you make compost correctly you can minimize your waste that would normally end up in a landfill, while giving your garden essential nutrients to help your plants grow and making your soil more fertile.
Watch this easy to follow youtube video on setting up a compost bin.
Want to build an indoor compost pile? This is a great style of compost bin that can easily be made and kept indoors, which is perfect for people living in apartments who want to minimize their waste.