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The Science of Composting: An Eco-Friendly Solution to Organic Waste

by Avendui Lacovara 09/15/2021


It may tempt you to toss those potato peels in the kitchen trashcan, but resist the urge. Not only will they make your trash smell terrible but they'll attract critters once the bag goes outside. By putting your vegetable scraps and coffee grounds back into the earth, you're helping to prevent trash from going into your local landfill. By composting, you can be a part of the solution and reap tons of rewarding benefits in return.

You'll Generate Less Trash for Pickup

If you set out multiple bags of trash each garbage day, a small composting bin that sets on your kitchen counter could be a solution. It may surprise you to learn how much organic waste you toss into the trash every day. In California alone, food and yard scraps once made up roughly one-third of the household trash that ended up in landfills. That's millions of pounds of lawn clippings and onion skins that could easily have been recycled. Many food scraps are suitable for compost, including:

  • Nutshells

  • Coffee grounds

  • Fruit and vegetable peels

  • Eggshells

  • Tea bags

California took action to lessen the amount of organic waste going to landfills in 2016, and other states across the country are taking notice. Keeping food scraps out of the trash is the right thing to do for the planet, and it's a healthy choice for families who grow their own food, as well.

You Won't Have to Buy Soil Conditioners

Even in urban areas, poor soil is not a problem for homeowners who compost. But before you decide whether composting is right for you, it's good to understand how the whole process works.

When you toss organic waste such as banana peels or watermelon rinds into a trash bag, they eventually rot, turn slimy and emit odor. However, if you compost them the decay process speeds up. Your cast-off food becomes a fresh meal for millions of tiny micro-organisms who break down the waste and change its composition. In a compost pile, food scraps decompose just as they would in nature, but they do so at an accelerated rate. As a result, you're left with a rich, brown soil that's perfect for planting.

Your Gardens Will Flourish

Possibly the biggest benefit to composting is the beautiful gardens and houseplants it supports. Imagine your beautiful new home trimmed with window boxes that trail colorful vines of vinca, fuchsia or lobelia. Plants flourish without the use of harsh chemicals and fertilizers that damage soil and endanger the water table.

Organic compost acts as a natural fertilizer without introducing toxins into the ground. Use your compost, indoors or out, in vegetable gardens and driveway borders. It will boost the growth of herbs in your windowsill pots and will keep your ferns happy and content.

Food scraps tossed in your trash make your kitchen smell unpleasant. If you keep a small composting bucket with a charcoal filter on your countertop, odors are easily contained. When the bin is full, simply take it outside andadd it to your compost pile for rich, beautiful soil that's ready when you need it.

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