Composting Series Pt. 1: What Is It?

The practice of composting usually refers to organic material that can be recycled. Think of your banana peels, vegetable stems, and stray branches. Sure, there are a few uses for them, but most of us would probably just have them go straight into the trash. Instead of letting those materials go to waste, composting provides a far more sustainable alternative.


Composting is an ancient practice with an ever growing importance in our modern world. The word composting comes from the Latin phrase “composita compositum”, which in English translates to “put something together.” While composting has several variations, each variety has one common trait: they bring together elements to create a beneficial solution.


Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of composting is how easy it is to begin. Composting does not require an immense amount of time, money, or effort, as you can compost goods in your own home. All you need is a shady space outdoors (or even using a specially purchased container for inside the house) and access to a water source. The next step would be to start composting! From there, experts suggest having a developed mix of certain materials, typically divided into categories such as brown (dead leaves, twigs, branches), green (grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, coffee grounds) and water. These items tend to be grouped because of the benefits they can bring. Brown materials provide carbon, green materials provide nitrogen, and the water contains necessary moisture. You should aim to have an equal mix of brown to green materials in your composting heap.


After all this, what happens? Generally, it takes about 2 to 4 months for the composting piles to be ready. From there, the material can be used as a natural supplement in soils for plant growth instead of relying on noxious chemical fertilizers. That supplement affects the soil by encouraging the growth of bacteria and fungi that promote soil and plant development.


Composting is an incredibly effective way to sustainably use leftovers and scraps of organic materials. In doing so, you can help lower your own carbon footprint and maximize the efficiency of your resources to benefit the Earth. Stay on the lookout for our Part 2 on the different types of composting and what would be best for you!

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