The misconception? That you need a tonne of space to compost. The truth? Urban or rural, house or unit, there is a compost bin or solution out there for you – you just need to find the right one.
But before we dig in, I want to bust some myths and shed some light on why composting is so important.
First up, why should we compost?
Every peel, every scrap of food we throw away makes its way to landfill. Here’s where I need to mention, a landfill is not a giant compost.
In landfills, organic materials – our food waste – finds itself in a packed, oxygen-deprived environment. Without access to air, the food scraps can’t decompose as they would in nature or a compost pile. Instead, they break down anaerobically (without oxygen). This anaerobic decomposition produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is up to 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Why does this matter?
Methane is a major player in global warming, trapping heat in the atmosphere. The more organic waste we send to landfills, the more methane we contribute to the atmosphere. It’s a vicious cycle – our food waste not only takes up precious landfill space but also exacerbates climate change.
Composting allows the organic waste to decompose aerobically (with oxygen) to help facilitate the decaying process, which means little to no methane.
This process also encourages the growth of friendly microbes that capture carbon from the atmosphere and lock it away in the soil. It’s like hitting the reverse button on pollution. So when we compost, we’re not just avoiding harmful methane emissions from landfills, we’re actively pulling carbon out of the air.
Then there’s the added bonus of turning everyday waste into a valuable resource – what gardeners affectionally refer to as ‘black gold.’
Packed with beneficial microorganisms, compost kicks life into even the sleepiest of soils. It’s a nutrient powerhouse for your garden, boosting plant growth as well as helping the earth hold onto water like a sponge. This is especially crucial in Australia during our dryer months.
Now we’re looking at our food waste as a resource. The scraps become compost, which improves soil quality and, in turn boosts food production. Then the cycle begins again, returning nutrients back to the earth, fostering a more sustainable cycle of consumption and renewal.