What is compost?

What is compost?

Essentially, compost is organic material (anything that was once living), that has been decomposed into a valuable soil, or fertilizer.

In order to turn organic waste into compost, it is all piled up, with soil, worms, and the proper ratio of greens, which are scraps that are rich in protein and nitrogen, and browns, which are scraps that are rich in carbohydrates.

Browns:

leaves

twigs

corn stalks

paper (non-glossy)

cotton fabric

cardboard (again, without any plastic)

Greens:

coffee grounds or tea bags

fruit and vegetable scraps

grass and plant clippings

It is generally suggested to follow a ratio of 3 parts browns to 1 part greens. This ensures that the composting process remains speedy and smell free, although this ratio is not strict. No matter what, you’ll end up with nice, finished compost in the end.

So why is composting important?

The reason the greens and browns are significant is because they aid in the natural decomposition process, which is why composting is important. When organic material and food waste goes straight to the landfill, it is compacted so tightly that there is not enough aeration for it to properly decompose. This way, it can take just as long for food to decompose in the landfill as it does for plastic, all the while producing greenhouse gases. This as we all know, leads to the climate change crisis we are faced with today, and is quickly becoming the burden of the next generation.

Composting rapidly decomposes organic waste the way it would naturally. Take a look in your trash can. How much of your garbage is organic material? A lot. I know. Imagine that this large percentage of your personal waste was diverted from the landfill, and instead nurtured to create a valuable, nutrient-rich soil. Now imagine that percentage in proportion to the American population. Whoa. All of that waste can be turned into a valuable resource and aid in preventing climate change, simply by feeding it to the worms and giving it back to the Earth.

If you’re convinced, keep reading! There are lots of ways to reduce your garbage other than composting, too. Next time you’re at the supermarket, try to choose the food with the least amount of packaging. Next time someone offers you a freebie, think about whether that item is actually something you need. For more information about how to reduce your carbon footprint, for the curious folk, head over to the “Journal” tab.

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