Composting is becoming a requirement for households across Canada, but how does putting your banana peels and eggshells in a green bin lead to a healthier environment? To all you compost doubters out there, or people curious about it’s impact, I hope I can shine a light on the surprisingly substantial effect composting has on the environment.
Landfills have become a growing concern despite our sustainably conscious efforts to reduce the amount of waste we purchase. Composting is a vital resource for households because it diverts compostable waste from landfills. These landfills are directly contributing to climate change as plant matter is forced to decay in an anaerobic environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, material that could be composted currently makes up 20 to 30 percent of landfills and making compost “keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”
Every at home gardener gets frustrated when their sunflowers aren’t blooming like they should be. One reason this could be happening is due to a lack of nutrient rich soil. Putting your compost into your soil provides it with nutrients that help grow microorganisms that breed plant life. On top of that, composting helps minimize water and wind erosion by functioning like a sponge and holding water where the roots need it most. This helps sandy soil absorb moisture resulting in crops needing smaller amounts of irrigation.
Compost also contains basic nutrients found in chemical fertilizers - potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus - without harming the environment. Composting is an environmentally-friendly alternative to introducing nutrients into your soil. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers can lead to nitrogen runoff which can cause algae blooms in the ocean and lakes that harm the ecosystem. Moreover, chemical fertilizers can also leach into groundwater contaminating drinking water wells resulting in water pollution.
If composting seems like a headache, just know your contributions are making an impact in more ways than one. So keep up the great work!