Composting For Climate And Health

Are you (or your friends or family) Hands Holding a Seedling and Soilthrowing away valuable stuff and at the same time increasing greenhouse gas emissions?

This happens every time you put your kitchen leftovers and garden ‘waste’ into the general rubbish bin.  (Did you know that over half of Australia’s household garbage is made up of food and garden waste?)

From your home, the contents of your rubbish bin most likely goes to landfill… where it is buried.

So, what’s the problem with burying rubbish?

All this buried organic material has 2 undesirable effects:

  1. The valuable nutrients contained in it become unusable.  This seems senseless in a world where our finite nutrients are increasingly scarce, expensive, and limiting our ability to grow food and be healthy.
  2. The organic material, decays ‘anaerobically’ (without air) to form methane, which has 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide…further increasing climate change.  (Did you know that buried organic matter causes over 3% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions?)

Surely, then, throwing good plant material away for good is madness. 🙁

There is a better way

Fortunately, though, most of this organic waste can be recycled by composting it. 🙂

By turning food scraps and organic garden waste into compost and using it in your garden or farm, you can:

  • Improve the quality of soil and vitality of plants (especially food plants – which are increasingly having to deal with temperature extremes)
  • Reduce water use (because soil with lots of organic matter holds water better, reducing the need for water by an average of 30%)
  • Store carbon in your soil
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions (and help reduce climate change)
  • Recycle valuable nutrients and reduce the use of artificial fertilisers
  • Save you money

And you can support others who are doing the right thing by buying composted products.

This week, a whole raft of activities, events and publicity will be taking place to let everyone know how important compost is…and to increase its use.  That’s because it’s International Composting Awareness Week?  (BTW, I do not get any commission from promoting Composting Awareness Week or associated organisers or sponsors!)

Many farmers recognise the importance of compost for healthy soils.

Thousands of farmers in Australia and elsewhere are already sequestering (storing) carbon in their soils.  Some might be paid for doing so (via carbon credit schemes), but most are doing so to gain the numerous other benefits.

Healthy soils are essential to maintain the quality of our food, the purity of our water, and the cleanliness of the air we breathe. Our health and that of our children, and the health of generations to come, depends on the way we manage our soil.
(Healthy Soils Australia

But I don’t have a garden (or a farm)!

If you don’t have a garden, ask your local council about how you and other householders can contribute your food scraps to composting.

If there’s not already a system in place for collecting and processing household food waste in your area, it may take a while to get one going.

In the meantime, you try recycling your kitchen waste with a worm farm or Bokashi bucket.  (What about sharing one with your neighbours…or setting up a community composting facility?)

What will you do to improve recycling of food and vegetation scraps? Just leave your comments in the Reply box below…or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right.  

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!