In simple words, composting facilitates the conversion of biodegradable or organic materials into nutrient-rich fertilizers. Later, this fertilizer can support the healthy growth of a vibrant ecosystem including plant life, insect life and microorganisms. Thus, this supports the well-being of the food chain as well as the larger environment in general.
For thousands of years, human beings have been composting in some form or another, because it yields a long list of benefits. Some of these are providing nutrients to crops, discouraging disease spreading or harmful microorganisms, reducing dependence on artificial fertilizers, reducing the emission of a potent greenhouse gas ‘methane’ significantly, reclaiming natural habitats, reducing pollution, reforestation and more.
Composting is very important today, because it raises awareness about the limitations within our agricultural systems. Because composting can be started by common people as well as groups, communities and small businesses, this practise encourages sustainability, a circular economy and self-sufficiency in our society. Thus, it is especially relevant and needed in urban environments. It’s a great way to throw away plant or animal wastes from our homes or offices and along the way support the well-being of the environment as well.
Looking into the Science of Composting
Organic materials like food, leaves, branches, hair and so on decompose or biodegrade naturally. Supported by a few conditions, a wide variety of living beings break down these materials into their constituent parts. These are then restored to the soil and the surroundings as the building blocks for new life to sprout. This process can either happen aerobically i.e., with the help of oxygen or anaerobically i.e., without the help of oxygen.
Composting requires certain environmental conditions like sufficient air or flow of air, moisture, optimal temperature, a balanced mixture of organic raw materials and the shape of the raw materials. These conditions facilitate the composting process to happen in the best possible manner, especially nurturing the various living beings to actively breakdown the organic raw materials.
Within the area, many kinds of living beings actively participate in synthesizing the materials. There are two kinds of living beings here: microorganisms like bacteria, fungi and protozoa as well as larger insects like ants, beetles, earth worms and flies. Here, microorganisms consume carbon and nitrogen present in the materials to help create nutrient-rich soil and the larger insects bite, tear and chew big chunks of the materials into more digestible forms for microorganisms.
A Great Idea: Taking an Initiative to Compost by Ourselves
Composting can be easily performed by ourselves, at our homes, shared areas of neighborhoods or communities, schools, offices and so on. They are a wonderful way to throw away organic waste materials. In contrast to conventional ways to discard organic wastes today i.e., throwing them away along with all kinds of other wastes like plastics, glass, paper and so on into landfills, composting is a much more environmentally friendly alternative.
Within landfills today, almost all kinds of wastes are thrown into an area, without any segregation. So, non-biodegradable wastes like plastics, chemicals and so on as well as organic wastes like left over food items are largely pressed and concentrated into one large heap. So, all the biodegradable wastes here unfortunately aren’t allowed to decompose or biodegrade naturally. Thus, such wastes exist here for years and years, often giving away bad smells and in some cases, may even foster diseases.
Luckily, we can start to compost on our own. As landfills improve the way they treat biodegradable wastes, inviting newer approaches, we can begin to compost on our own, in small instances. Here are the important steps briefly:
We need to provide a small area to throw in all the organic raw materials, ideally kept away from our living areas because this can attract many insects and microorganisms. There are two kinds of wastes we need: ‘Green’ wastes like fresh leaves, vegetable wastes, extra pieces of fruit and so on as well as ‘brown’ wastes like dead leaves, twigs and branches. We also need to ensure sufficient water, flow of air, optimal temperature and the raw materials present are broken into smaller bits and pieces to help living beings to easily synthesize these materials.
Encouraging Composting as a Vital Modern-Day Practice
In addition to sharing the importance of composting today, this guide was meant to give you a general introduction to the practice composting on your own. So, before you start, please invest in learning about the detailed steps you need to take, in more elaborate guides available. By searching online, you can easily learn in much more detail about precautions, specific steps and relevant information.
Composting is a very helpful practice today. It’s a great way to treat organic wastes in our vicinities. In addition to individuals, groups, communities, organizations and businesses can welcome the practice of composting easily. There are a variety of means to practice composting for larger groups or large-scale instances i.e., in-vessel composting, vermicomposting and aerated windrow composting – all these are perfectly suited for businesses. Thus, alongside encouraging sustainability, composting becomes a meaningful and valuable opportunity for business growth as well.