The fifth layer of the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy involves composting. Even if you take every precaution to use your spoiled food, certain inedible bits will remain and can be composted to feed and enrich the soil. Food waste scraps, like yard trash, can be composted. Composting these wastes results in a product that can enhance soils, grow new crops, and improve water quality. According to the EPA, 2.6 million tonnes of food (4.1 percent of wasted food) were composted in 2018. In 2018, Americans recycled more than 69 million tonnes of MSW and composted about 25 million tonnes of it. Recycling is 1.16 pounds per person per day while composting is 0.42 pounds per person per day. In 2017, the most current year for which data is available, food composting curbside collection programs served 6.1 million households.
What is Compost?
Compost is added to the soil by gardeners and farmers to improve its physical features. They may even grow plants in compost rather than soil. Mature compost is a durable material with a humus content that is dark brown or black and smells like dirt.
• Compost is made by combining organic wastes in the proper proportions, such as discarded food, yard trimmings, and manures, into piles, rows, or vessels.
• Adding bulking agents, such as wood chips, if needed to speed up the breakdown of organic ingredients;
• Curing the completed product to stabilize and mature it thoroughly.
High temperatures are used to make mature compost, killing diseases and weed seeds that natural decomposition doesn’t.
Our Composting’s Advantages
Compost has a variety of advantages that not everyone is aware of. The following are some examples:
• Methane, a strong greenhouse gas, is produced by organic waste in landfills. Methane emissions are considerably decreased when discarded food and other organics are composted.
• Using compost instead of chemical fertilizers decreases, and in some cases eliminates, the demand for them.
• Compost encourages agricultural crop yields to increase.
• By amending contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils, compost can benefit reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization projects.
• Compost can be utilized to rehabilitate hazardous waste-contaminated soils cost-effectively.
• Where applicable, compost can save money over traditional soil, water, and air pollution remediation procedures.
• Compost improves soil water retention.
• Compost helps to sequester carbon.
Compost may be beneficial to human health since it improves soil health and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
According to one article, rising carbon dioxide levels in the environment may cause zinc deficiency in people. It also suggests that nutrient shortages in the soil can lead to nutrient deficits in the food that people grow in the soil.
Composting may also have indirect health benefits for humans. Composting a home garden can result in higher yields of fruits and vegetables as well as healthier plants. Composting could help you grow more nutritious meals at home.
Human health may also benefit from the use of fewer toxic pesticides and fertilizers. Pesticides may be linked to cancer, according to some data. Because of pesticides’ negative impacts on human health, some health experts believe there is an “urgent need” to discover pesticide alternatives.