As we approach Earth Day, it’s important to reflect on how we can all do our part to care for the planet. One simple and impactful way to make a difference is by composting at home.
Simply put, composting is the process of breaking down organic materials, such as food scraps, yard waste, and paper, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. This soil amendment can then be used to fertilize plants, gardens, and lawns, reducing the need for fertilizers, and suppressing disease in our gardens and lawns.
Composting at home is a perfect fit for Earth Day because it’s a sustainable practice that helps reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste is the single largest component of municipal solid waste in the United States. When organic waste, such as food scraps, decomposes in a landfill, it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. By composting at home, we can divert these materials from the landfill and reduce our carbon footprint.
Composting also helps to conserve natural resources. When we compost food and yard waste, we’re creating a valuable resource that can be used to improve soil health and support plant growth. This means less reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which can harm the environment by contaminating soil and water.
Composting is also a great way to promote biodiversity. When we use compost to fertilize plants, we provide them with a diverse range of nutrients and microorganisms that support healthy growth. This, in turn, supports a diverse range of insects, birds, and other wildlife.
Composting is easier than you might think. All you need is a compost bin, which can be purchased at most garden centers or online. You can also make your own compost bin using materials like wood pallets, chicken wire, or plastic containers. To get started, simply add food scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials to your compost bin; mix them; add water to moisten the materials; and once the pile begins to heat up, turn it periodically to aerate it and let the FBI (Fungi, Bacteria, and Invertebrates) do the rest.
This is a simple but powerful way to care for the planet. By reducing waste, conserving resources, and promoting biodiversity, we can make a real difference in the fight against climate change. This Earth Day, consider starting your own compost bin if you haven’t already done so and join the millions of people around the world who are taking action to protect our planet.
Submitted by Russ Hartman, Certified Master Gardener and Master Watershed Steward Trainee