As of recently, there has been an ever-growing buzz regarding the environment and being sustainable, and we need to embrace this movement. As the population grows, our demands on Earth’s resources grow, and this current rate is not sustainable. Barring any change, we will not have enough freshwater and natural resources to support our society in the near future. Each day, we incur more and more damage through the demands of consumerism, and this must come to an end. We must, as a society, take it upon ourselves to make individual changes which will potentially be the start of a global shift to a sustainable lifestyle. Our conscious decisions and actions will determine the future health of our planet. Right now is the time we can make a difference for the future.
One conscious decision that we can make to save the environment for future generations is to compost. Composting is a process that converts organic waste into a useful product that can be used as a soil fertilizer. Compost is actually one of nature’s best mulches and soil amendments, and it can be used as a substitute for artificial fertilizers (“Evanston…” 2). Compost is created by first collecting organic scraps that would normally be thrown away, such as yard trimmings and food scraps. These materials are then left in a controlled environment that is ideal for natural decomposition. This environment can be created in a special composting bin or even in a pile in your backyard. After allowing your pile to decompose for a few months, your compost is ready to be used as a fertilizer in your garden.
Figure 1: Man holding a pile of compost Figure 2: Inputs and outputs of the composting process
Source: “Composting” Source: Starbuck – “Making and Using Compost”
The main goal of composting is to protect the environment by recycling organic waste into something beneficial, fertilizer. However, composting also has many other substantial environmental benefits. Composting is a very efficient sustainable process that achieves its goal of being environmentally friendly by enriching soil, remediating contaminated soil, and preventing pollution.
One of the main environmental benefits of compost is that it enriches the soil. The compost helps bind the sand, silt, and clay particles in the soil together, resulting in improved storage capacity for nutrients and water (Davies 41). This also results in a secondary benefit—less water is needed to water plants fertilized by compost. Compost is also very nutrient rich, so rich that gardeners commonly refer to it as “black gold” (“Evanston…” 3). It improves soil fertility as the composting process encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria and fungi, which in turn break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material. Kate Stewart, a student at Northwestern University and member of GREEN House, has had extended experience with using compost to enrich poor Texas soil and says that “adding rich compost...