Not too many people realize it, but composting is one of the best ways to return your resources back into the earth. In a way, composting is our way of saying thank you to Mother Earth for providing us with the resources needed to feed ourselves and our families. Simply put, composting is a lot like recycling, except you don’t take your reusable goods to a recycling center, but rather you put it in a compost bin or tumbler and back into your garden.
Let’s start with a common scenario for households of two or more. In the beginning, there was food, and it was good. Fruits and vegetables were abundant, but so were the leftovers and food scraps. Instead of tossing all the food scraps into the trash where it would take up unneeded space in landfills, why not recycle it all back into the earth? Food scraps are easy enough to compost because there’s always such an abundance of it lying around, so what have you got to lose other than the scraps themselves?
Always consider what you can and cannot compost. For instance, it’s strongly advised to never, ever compost bones, meat and dairy products, fats and oils since they take too long to decompose or won’t decompose properly at all, smell really foul after half a day, and they attract all sorts of critters and wildlife. Unfortunately, not everything can be composted; I would recommend that you toss the aforementioned items in your trash and properly dispose of them. Veggie stalks, fruit rinds, apple cores and even coffee grounds are the goodies you want to compost. You wouldn’t think it, but coffee grounds are great for the composting process since they’re rich in nitrogen and aid in adding heat to your compost pile.
We know that composting is great for the earth, but why and how? Well, if you think about it, composting cuts out a lot of costs. You would be saving a lot of money on water and garbage bills just by making free natural and organic soil fertilizer for your garden and houseplants. And did I mention it would improve the vitality of your soil? By returning nutrients back into the soil that will be released over the course of a couple years, you would be maximizing the growth and health of your plants and veggies. The soil itself would also have improved aeration and drainage. And even if you’re not an avid gardener, composting takes very little of your time and like I’ve mentioned before, what have you got to lose other than your food scraps?
*Special thanks to C. Forrest McDowell, PhD and Tricia Clark-McDowell for their compost guide Home Composting Made Easy, available on Cortesia Press.