Composting is a tried and true method of reducing your environmental impact and creating a healthier planet. Composting has been around for thousands of years. The Mayans and Incans used this practice to enrich their forest soils. George Washington composted his food waste to help enhance the health of the food he grew at his home in New Jersey.
In our modern world, composting will add to the health of the food that you eat and will definitely make difference in the health of our planet. All you need is a paper bag, a refrigerator and a local Farmers Market.
In the composting process, your food scraps get mixed with leaves and, in some cases, high-nitrogen materials like grass. All of the items break down together to form a nutrient-rich, soil-like material that is added to topsoil or dug back down into the soil to provide raw materials for flowers, fruits, vegetables and trees so they can grow better and to restore the soil. Compost helps the soil store water, attracts beneficial soil organisms that enhance the health of the soil and enhances plant growth.
Scientists recently discovered that climate change is triggered by the food waste we send to the landfill. When our food waste sits in garbage bags at our landfill, the food waste breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen). This anaerobic breakdown of food waste releases methane, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. These gasses are major factors in the erosion of our ozone layer. Composting can prevent this altogether.
Composting allows your food waste to break down in the presence of oxygen, which significantly reduces the amount of excess methane, carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere.
So what’s stopping you from collecting your food scraps in a paper bag, storing them in your refrigerator and then bringing them to your local Farmers’ Market (or farm if you live near one) so that they can be turned into compost!
Many of us know that fruits and vegetables can be composted, but did you know that you can compost the following?:
- Paper products, including toilet paper rolls.
- Flowers and stems break down with ease and will be used by plants when added back to the soil.
- Grains like rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa, amaranth and all grains can be broken down in the composting process
- Pits from avocados, peaches, nectarines, plums, mangoes.
- Tea bags can be composted after any metal staples have been removed.
- Coffee grinds are an extremely rich source of plant food.
Michael Forman is a native of Bronx, NY and has lived in New York City for almost his entire life. Michael is the Executive Farm Director of Pure Love Organic Farms, an organic, urban farm which he and three other friends created in 2012 from a former garbage dump-site and also works as the North American Account Manager for Totally Green in the Sustainable Technologies field. Michael’s big picture goal is to create a solution to the water issues that are happening in the Western part of the United States through organic agricultural practices and make organic farming available to young farmers.