General Question

jdegrazia's avatar

Why is composting important?

Asked by jdegrazia (266 points ) April 12th, 2009

In what ways would/could a community (neighborhood, country, the world) improve if everyone composted?

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9 Answers

La_chica_gomela's avatar

-there would be fewer landfills and more usable land

-the soil (for people who garden) would be a lot more fertile without the use of expensive chemical fertilizers that create nasty by-products which pollute the environment and can leach into water supplies causing harmful effects on residents, especially children

-the cost of trash-collection services would decrease, resulting in lower taxes or more money in city budgets for other services

rooeytoo's avatar

It is important for all the reasons La chica gomela says and this is why and how I do it:

I compost through my dogs, all peelings, over ripe fruit and veg, etc. go into a container in the freezer. When I need it, I nuke the whole container, add some chicken broth, and a little bit of pasta, rice, barley or some grain. That combined with raw meat is what my dogs eat. Much better for them than commercial dog food, no dog food containers in my rubbish and my dogs are happy and healthy.

Dog's avatar

Just want to add that it will save you money if you have plants. The mulch is better and free.

PupnTaco's avatar

@rooeytoo: but that’s not really compost, just wise use of kitchen scraps. :)

Or tell me you’re not spreading dog crap in your garden!

rooeytoo's avatar

@ PupnTaco – The definition of compost is to make vegetable matter or manure into compost so sayeth the dictionary in my MacBook and it has certainly always been my understanding of the word when used as a verb and the end result is a noun. And it would be safe to spread my dogs manure in my garden, they are zoonose free.

What do you consider compost or composting?

PupnTaco's avatar

I would be concerned about spreading any feces from meat-eating animals. That encourages maggots and introduces harmful bacteria to the soil. The nitrogen-rich manure of plant-eating chickens, though, is great for composting.

“Composting” to me means combining the right proportions of brown material (dried leaves), green material (grass clippings), kitchen waste (vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells), and chicken manure to make rich, dark compost for enriching and aerating garden soil.

rooeytoo's avatar

@PupnTaco – I didn’t say I would use it, I just said I could as they are zoonose free. But it is interesting that you classify chickens as plant eating because actually they are quite carnivorous. When I feed the dogs, the chicken has to have her bowl as well, otherwise she intimidates the small dog and eats her raw or cooked meat. And commercial cattle feed contains dead cows, it was thought that could be part of the reason for the spread of mad cow disease. And I don’t understand the bit about maggots, they are not a bad thing as far as I know???

I guess the definition of compost and composting depends on which dictionary you use!

mattbrowne's avatar

@La_chica_gomela – You gave a perfect analysis. In most areas in Germany it’s not allowed to put compost into the residual waste bin. Same for paper, glass, cans etc. People who don’t have a garden get a green compost bin.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I thought this was a really good question. I instincitvely know that composting is good. So when I first read it, I though shucks this is easy. But then when I tried to answer the question I couldn’t really. I think the first answerer hit it spot on but it didn’t really stick out to me as important. So I went on a search. This fact stuck out to me:

In 2006, the national recycling rate of 32.5 percent (or 82 million tons) of organic waste prevented the release of approximately 49.7 million metric tons of carbon into the air—about the same amount emitted annually by 39 million car

Also this number:

1/3 of waste is organic matter that could be composted and used for beneficial purposes instead of filling up landfills. (we need more space in our landfills for crap that can’t be recycled/composted as they are filling up too quickly. Also when the food degrades in a landfill it just adds to the crap instead of being beneficial).

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