No, I’m not a dumpster diver, but what looks like waste to other people, looks to me like an opportunity to create something new.
…and just so that we are all on the same page, let’s define the word waste…
Waste (a.k.a. trash) according to Wikipedia, is any substance that is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective, and of no use… NO USE!?! Now here is an opportunity…
What if we could put waste to good use?
I have been working on a few environmental initiatives in my home town that are focused on the amount of trash being generated and the options for residential composting. Recently I started asking the question: Is Residential composting really worth it?
We’ve all heard of recycling…everyone (hopefully) recycles cans and bottles. But what about the food that is thrown away? After all, food is organic matter that can be broken down naturally and made into new, nutrient-rich soil. This is what we know as composting.
As a member of the Waste Reduction and Diversion (WRAD)–a committee part of the York Maine Ready for 100 Citizens Initiative– I get many questions about composting and how to start.
Most people ask “Is composting difficult?”…and I can tell you that it is as easy as saving your extra food scraps. We then get asked: “Is saving all your food scraps and grass cuttings really going to make an impact on my environment and my garden?”
To start this conversation, I think it is important to know that 40 percent of waste in landfills is actually not trash at all– it’s compostable… and food waste makes up 20 percent of landfill space, which is a giant waste of money and resources. Even worse, food waste also creates methane gas when decomposed, which contributes to our carbon footprint and accelerates climate change.
But, there’s a solution: If everyone had a small compost pile, think of all the waste that would be diverted away from the landfills and back into the environment!
Studies show that composting significantly reduces the amount of waste sent to the landfill. The North Shore Recycling Program (NSRP), an agency in Vancouver, did a study on residential composting and found the average household kept 996 pounds of compostable waste off the curb a year. That’s a lot of waste!
Composting benefits everyone. It’s one more contribution we can all make to Mother Earth.
In addition to these benefits, compost makes amazing fertilizer!
Soil made from compost is actually more nutrient-rich than store-bought fertilizer, plus it’s better for the environment.
According to the EPA, soil made from compost produces “beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.”
Store-bought fertilizer is made with chemicals that can actually harm the environment if it runs off into streams and creeks.
Compost has none of that junk. Compost enriches the soil and helps prevent plant diseases and pests while also keeping roots moist.
In addition, going to the store to get fertilizer is a hassle and can get expensive… So, why not make your own natural fertilizer?
You can save money at the hardware store and on your water bill!
Compost absorbs water better than store-bought fertilizer, which keeps plants watered and happy–No need to continuously use up water for your garden.
I think we can say that residential composting benefits not only your backyard but also your entire neighborhood.
I have been composting personally for over 8 years, and I know that getting started sounds intimidating, but I want you to know that composting is actually quite easy. Plus the composting benefits totally outweigh just sending your compostables to the landfill. If you are not ready to compost in your back yard, there are curbside pick up services available too.
I would be happy to answer any additional questions. Please reach out to me if you are interested. =)