Have you ever tried to compost? It's honestly one of the best things you can do for the planet and if you are into living a zero-waste life, it's one of the most important. But it's hard to know what is compostable at home, hopefully, this article will help you on your journey.
What Is Compost?
Put simply, compost is decomposed organic matter made up of biodegradable materials like leaves, dry grass, kitchen scraps, and yard waste. With the assistance of decomposers - worms, fungi, microorganisms, etc. - and the right conditions, the materials break down into decomposed vegetable matter known as humus but often referred to as 'black gold', and for good reason!
When produced in the right conditions, compost offers nutrient-rich organic fertilizer that your garden will LOVE. You can mix it into your soil or it can be used as mulch.
Benefits of Composting
1. It Makes Your Plants Healthier
That "black-gold" makes your soil super fertile, it improves the quality of the soil and it adds beneficial microbes and nutrients making growing a little easier. Healthier soils mean that your plants will grow bigger and stronger and be able to fight off disease.
2. It's very beneficial for the environment
The value of composting is increasingly clear, it cuts down on garbage and it cuts back what we take out of the environment, it's really an ideal form of recycling. Composting can be done at any time of the year and has a direct relationship to zero-waste living.
By composting at home you are reducing unnecessary waste that heads to landfills, reducing all the dangers that come with burning that waste. Rotting materials in landfills pollute water resources via leachate.
Rotting materials become anaerobic and create methane gas. Methane gas is a potent greenhouse gas and happens to be 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our atmosphere.
Organic and kitchen waste makes up about 30% of the waste disposed of by Canadian households. Studies indicate that produce (fruits and vegetables), bread, and cereals are the most wasted food groups in Canadian homes and that most of this waste is avoidable. Canadian habits are changing, that's some good news.
The less rotting food we have in landfills the better. Composting whether it be at home, or at the municipal or commercial level is the best example of "upcycling", the concept of turning an unwanted item into something even better! You gotta love that!
3. It saves money
Compost helps to conserve water and reduces the need for chemical and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
If you love to garden and plant, odds are you're spending money each year to purchase compost. Making it at home will also reduce the waste that it's packaged in (plastic bags). Most compost you buy is made from cow poop or cotton burrs, homemade compost is much better quality, offering a wider variety of nutrients.
Plants that are grown in this type of soil are not as prone to pests and plant diseases, which means you will spend less money buying new plants to replace the ones that died.
4. It helps soil drainage
If you have sandy soil, you are probably having to water it a lot to keep your plants happy and healthy. Compost can absorb more water, kind of like a sponge, helping to slow the drainage and provide more water for your plants to use. Which means watering less.
5. It balances your soils pH levels
Getting your soil to the right pH is hard, I am not going to lie, it can either be too alkaline or too acidic, both not ideal growing conditions because it prevents the roots from absorbing the nutrients they need. Good compost can help neutralize the soil's pH.