The Benefits of Composting and How to Get Started

Benefits of Composting

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Composting is a simple way to make the most of your kitchen and garden scraps. This method turns organic waste into a rich soil amendment for your plants. By recycling food leftovers and garden clippings, you make compost that improves soil quality. This, in turn, helps your garden grow. Composting is good for a lot of. It cuts down waste, lowers harmful gas emissions, and saves water.

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About a third of what we throw out is food and garden waste, says the EPA1. By composting, you keep these materials out of the dump. This means less greenhouse gases in the air. San Francisco cut down its landfill waste by 80 percent since 2012. That’s over 90,000 tons of harmful gas avoided each year1.

Composting helps our planet by making soil healthier and saving water. Farming uses a lot of water in the U.S., most of it for crops1. Mixing compost into soil helps it hold moisture better, meaning you water less. Research shows plants do better in composted soil. This helps them absorb more carbon dioxide, which is good for the air2.

Composting also cuts down on how much food we waste. A typical family of four throws away $150 of food each month. That’s half more than in the 1970s1. Composting your food scraps turns that waste into garden nutrition instead.

Starting to compost is simple. You can choose from several methods, depending on your situation. Whether it’s a cold pile or a high-tech system, you’ll help the planet and your garden. Both cold and hot composting method are great for enriching your garden soil. They also reduce your carbon footprint.

What is Composting?

Composting turns food scraps and leaves into a useful fertilizer with3. This process uses bacteria and microorganisms to break down the waste. After this, we get compost that looks like soil but is full of plant nutrients3.

This natural fertilizer helps plants grow better and healthier3. It also lets plant roots spread deeper. And it stops the soil from washing away. Plus, it saves water and fights climate change by locking away carbon3.

Composting gives off carbon dioxide, which is much better for the planet than methane4. It cuts down on the trash that fills up landfills4. By doing it at home, you use fewer chemical fertilizers and help the Earth in big ways4.

Compost doesn’t just help your garden. It also cleans the air by eating up 99.6 percent of harmful chemicals5. Using it means less need for chemicals and bigger harvests5. It even fights bad smells and stops some pollution from getting into water supplies5.

Reduces Waste and Cuts Methane Emissions

Composting lessens waste and its impact on the environment. Over 28% of landfill trash in the U.S. comes from food scraps and garden waste6. When this waste rots without air in landfills, it gives off methane. Methane is much better at trapping heat in the air than CO26. In the U.S., landfills are a big source of methane made by humans. More than half of this comes from food waste7.

Composting helps keep organic waste out of landfills. It lets waste break down with air, not making methane. So, composting cuts the pressure on landfills and lowers methane. Research shows composting can reduce greenhouse gases by 38 to 84% compared to throwing it in the trash6.

Also, putting compost on farms can trap carbon in the soil. Just one acre of land being composted can cut as much pollution as 75% of a car in a year6. Despite these big benefits, only 5% of food waste in the U.S. gets composted6. It’s a straightforward way to make a big difference. We can cut down on landfill trash and lower methane, aiming for a better future.

Composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions

All over, countries are seeing the value of composting for cutting back on greenhouse gases. In Western Australia, they composted 700,000 tonnes of food scraps in 2012. This stopped about a ton of CO2 from getting into the air for each ton of waste8. Austria leads the way in Europe. 34% of its household waste gets composted, avoiding 1.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases yearly8. If the U.S. composted 8.5% of its trash, it could do a lot to reduce greenhouse gases. This would be as good as taking over 33 million cars off the road8.

Choosing to compost makes a big impact. It helps lessen waste, reduces methane, and supports a planet that can last longer687.

Improves Soil Health and Prevents Erosion

Compost is more than just a method for handling waste. It’s a key player in making soil healthier and stopping erosion. It’s packed with nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that feed the soil and help plants grow well9. Compost boosts soil’s ability to hold water, making it stronger and more fertile9. This means it helps keep soil in place and cuts down on the need for chemicals, promoting farming that lasts a long time9.

In California, farms use the most compost, about 7.5 million tons every year10. This helps with their crops and is even more crucial for the state’s organic farms, which make over $2.2 billion a year. They’re using lots more compost to make their soil better and their crops stronger10. And it’s not just for crops; it’s also being used in places like grasslands to catch carbon, help grass grow, and save water10.

Compost is like a vitamin boost for the soil, adding important nutrients and metals. It makes the soil better at holding water and stronger overall10. Plus, it cuts down on using chemicals that can hurt useful bugs and other creatures, helping nature thrive11. By encouraging the growth of good bacteria and fungi, compost makes plants tougher against pests and diseases11910.

Conserves Water

Composting is vital for saving water. It’s because a big part of the US water, almost 80%, goes to farming12. Yet, if we add compost to soil, it can hold more water. For each 1% of organic matter, soil keeps 20,000 more gallons of water per acre12. This means less water is needed for farming.

Adding just 5% more organic matter to soil makes a huge difference in water retention13. An example from 2000 found that compost increased soil’s water storage from 1.3 to 1.9 inches. This improvement can help crops for 2 weeks longer during droughts13. Compost also changes soil in a way that helps water get in, nutrients to be taken up by plants, and roots to grow healthier13.

Compost helps both sandy and clay soils. For sandy soils that don’t hold water well, compost boosts their water storage and makes the soil stronger13. Clay soils, which can get too wet, benefit too. Compost in clay soil keeps water longer and stops it from washing away. Adding compost makes soil better for plants and uses less water13.

Using compost as a top layer on soil also reduces water use13. It stops water from evaporating quickly, meaning plants need less water. Adding a mix of compost and straw or woodchips as a top layer is even better. This way, plants stay moist longer without much water13.

In a world with not enough water, composting helps a lot. It makes soil healthier and able to keep more water. This way, farmers and gardeners need to use less water, saving it for later121413.

Reduces Personal Food Waste

Consumers throw away a lot of food15. They end up wasting 25% of what they buy15. A family of four throws out food worth $1,350 to $2,275 a year15. This waste is not just a money loss. It also harms our planet. But, composting can help cut down on this waste and its bad effects.

Even with many efforts, some food scraps can’t be avoided15. Composting turns these scraps into something useful, not trash. Compost gives off less harmful methane than food in landfills15. Plus, composting helps save money and improves soil for gardening15.

Composting is a simple step to cut down on home food waste15. Some cities, such as Seattle and New York City, pick up compost right at your curb15. By doing this, you help the earth and lower your own waste footprint. It’s a small way to do something big for our planet.

Benefits of Composting

Composting is truly amazing, offering lots of good for Earth and your garden. It turns old stuff into new, rich soil. This way, using compost helps the planet stay healthy and supports a lively nature around us16.

Composting can lower waste and stop harmful gases from reaching our air. The U.S. throws out more trash than any other country, adding to climate change with 143 million tons of gases yearly16. When we compost, we help cut these bad emissions a lot. Also, making new soil with compost adds way less to global warming than usual trash dumps do16.

Compost is great for soil and plants, making them strong and full of life. It spreads nutriments like nitrogen that help everything grow well3. By using compost, you can make your garden better and help the area’s nature stay healthy. It also means you need to use fewer chemicals on your plants17.

Composting saves water, too. Adding compost to soil can make it hold lots of water better. For every 1% more compost in soil, it can hold 16,500 gallons of water more17. This helps a lot in places where water is hard to find.

Composting cuts down on thrown-away food. Every year, the U.S. tosses out way too much food. About a third of that could be composted instead of trashed16. Choosing to compost helps keep our landfills and air cleaner.

composting benefits

Composting does more than just help in the garden. It’s a strong force in fighting global warming. In the U.S. by 2030, composting might cut down on 30 million tons of harmful gases a year16. Plus, it can save a lot of money in trash handling costs16. Everyone who composts is making a big difference for our planet’s future.

Types of Home Composting

Home composting has two main styles: cold (passive) and hot (active) composting. Cold composting is easy and needs little work. It turns waste into compost slowly, in about 6 months to a year18. But, it might not get rid of all bad stuff like germs or weed seeds18.

Hot composting is the quicker method, making compost in just 2 to 3 months18. It involves keeping the right mix of materials, moisture, and air for fast breakdown. The heat it generates can kill harmful things, producing cleaner compost18. Hot composting asks for more time and effort, yet the compost you get is better and quicker to use.

Decide between cold and hot composting by thinking about how much waste you have, and the time you can spend. Cold compost is less work but slower. Hot composting is faster but demands more effort181920. Your choice depends on what matters most to you and your composting goals.

Cold (Passive) Composting

Cold composting is also known as passive composting. It’s the most straightforward home method. Organic waste breaks down over time, creating compost in about 6 months to a year18. This method is perfect for people with little time to spare or not much waste to compost. But, it might not eliminate all harmful elements due to lower temperatures18.

Hot (Active) Composting

Hot composting, on the other hand, is more hands-on. It speeds up the composting process. You can get finished compost in only 2 to 3 months18. Keeping the mix just right and the compost heap aerated results in high temperatures. This heat handles and kills pathogens and weed seeds18. Although more work is needed, the compost it makes is of better quality and ready much sooner


How to Compost

Composting is a straightforward way to reuse food scraps and yard waste. It turns them into rich soil for your garden. First, learn the basics of how composting works21.

Composting Ingredients and Ratios

To make successful compost, mix “greens” (like food scraps and grass) with “browns” (such as leaves and shredded paper). Remember, the best mix has 25-30 parts carbon to 1 nitrogen for a healthy pile22.


Layer your composting materials in a bin, and don’t let it get too dry or wet. It’s important to turn the pile to help it decay faster22.

Over time, your compost will turn into a dark, rich soil. This shows it’s ready to use in your garden to make it healthier22.


Composting helps you cut down on trash, saves resources, and creates better soil for your plants. It’s easy to start at home and has many benefits212223.


Composting has many benefits. It lowers waste, boosts soil health, and saves water. Plus, it helps the planet and your money24. When you compost at home, you’re turning trash into treasure. This is great for your garden. It also cuts down on landfill waste and lowers greenhouse gases25.

You can pick cold or hot composting. The important thing is to start. Let nature break down the waste24. It might need some space and effort, but it’s worth it. Your plants will thank you for the rich compost. And you’ll feel good about helping the environment24. So, begin your eco-friendly journey with composting today.

Making compost a habit can do a lot of good. It eases the load on landfills24. It also helps local farmers and saves you money on gardening25. Together, we can build a better world by composting. Let’s get started, and make every compost heap count.

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