Benefits of Composting
For both residents and businesses composting has multiple benefits.
Composting is an inexpensive way to reduce your trash bill. By removing food and yard waste from your garbage bags, you will be throwing away less, and for residents who pay by the bag that money can add up.
It's Good for the Environment
Composting also has environmental benefits. Between them food and yard waste make up roughly one-fourth of the municipal solid waste stream. If those wastes are composted instead of dumped in a landfill, space is conserved in the landfill. Perhaps more importantly, two byproducts of landfills--leachate and methane-- will be reduced.
Leachate is the liquid that is produced as materials break down. In modern landfills, this liquid is collected and processed. By reducing the amount of water rich plant waste in landfills, we reduce leachate.
Methane gas is produced when bacteria decompose materials without access to oxygen, a process known as anaerobic decomposition. Most methane is captured and burned. At some landfills it is used to generate electricity. The reason methane must be burned is that it is a potent greenhouse gas, trapping ten times more of the sun's energy in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide does. Which makes composting a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Compost is Good for Soil and Plants
Rich in beneficial microorganisms, compost has been shown to reduce plant disease and pests and even improve the quality of contaminated soils. The mix of nutrients in compost can reduce and even eliminate the need for fertilizers.
The presence of rich organic material in your soil will attract animals, such as worms, which will in turn further benefit your soil and plants.
Compost also reduces erosion, absorbing and trapping water when added to sandy soils, and creating space for water to penetrate in clay soils. Compost makes it easier for plant roots to grow in both sandy and clay soils as well, leading to stronger, healthier plants.
Compost Reduces the Need for Watering
Because compost helps soils retain water and makes it easier for plants to grow strong roots, its use can reduce the need for watering. Using compost as mulch reduces the need for weeding and watering.
Compost Can Boost the Health of Houseplants
Adding some compost to house plants is an easy, and completely free, way to restore nutrients to depleted soils.