Environmental Benefits for Composting

Composting is a form of recycling that reduces the amount of trash that goes into landfills, while enriching your garden soil. Manure, woodchips, vegetable scraps, shredded paper, coffee grinds, egg shells and leaf and garden trimmings can all be added to the compost pile. When the pile has completed its transformation the refuse is turned into nutrient-rich material that can amend the soil or fertilize the garden. Needless to say, composting benefits the environment.

Enrich and Fertilize

Because composting material naturally enriches and fertilizes, it eliminates or reduces the need to use chemical fertilizers. When introducing chemicals into the environment there are potential risks. Agricultural crops grown on soil amended with compost will produce higher yields. When enriched with compost, the texture of the soil will improve and increase its ability to absorb water and soil.

Contain Disease and Pests

A mature compost pile generates more heat than when vegetation naturally falls to the ground and slowly decomposes. The high temperatures of a mature compost pile will kill weed seeds and pathogens, which would not be destroyed when decomposing slowly. Composting helps to contain plant diseases and pests.

Restore Soil

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amending marginal soil with compost will help revitalize the soil and aid environmental restoration projects--such as wetland restoration, habitat revitalization or reforestation. Composting is an effective and economical way to repair soils contaminated by hazardous wastes. The savings can be as much as 50 percent over other remediation technologies.

Stream Waste

The EPA reports that food refuse and yard trimmings contribute to almost a quarter of all United States stream waste. If the materials were initially added to a compost pile or recovered for composting, the environmental burden to our waterways would lessen. Composting also lessens the burden to landfills, and because the materials are typically shredded or diced before adding, the refuse takes a matter of weeks and months to decompose, as opposed to years or decades.

Keywords: compost, environment, environmental benefits for composting

About this Author

Ann Johnson was the editor of a community magazine in Southern California for more than 10 years and was an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelors of Art degree in communications from California State University of Fullerton. Today she is a freelance writer and photographer, and part owner of an Arizona real estate company.