Intro to Composting


What is composting? Well, actually, we do it all the time. Every day. It’s a very personal project. If you think about it, we are walking compost machines. Without getting unnecessarily graphic…when we eat something, it goes in one way, and comes out another. That’s composting! It happens, courtesy of a billion little microorganisms that live inside of us (we are never really alone) and do a great job without much help on our part, aside from providing the ingredients. We contribute food, fluids and some bulking material from our diet. Our bodies naturally keep things at the right temperature, and viola! After the appropriate period of time, transformed matter is produced…to be returned back to the earth. This is the magic of composting, hidden in plain sight.

The choice to compost our food just makes this a little more intentional…and for goals beyond our own personal health. Composting could make a significant impact on the health of the planet, one scrap at a time.

Consider that nature, on her own, is phenomenal at composting. Trees live, grow and drop their leaves or fruit to the soil. Those items decompose with the help of billions of microbes and other small critters, and nourish the soil. The nutrition released from this process then works to  nourish the trees, and develops the soil which supports root structure so water can flow more easily, more things can grow and more animals can come, etc. It all works together.

Humans, in contrast, create landfills. We are the only creatures that do this. Almost half of our landfills are made of food and other materials that could easily be recycled. If we compost at home, we can ease this problem while creating our own nourishing earthy products to enhance our own little bit of the planet!

It’s easy to do. It just takes a bit of planning and commitment. I have a “No scrap goes to waste policy” at my house. I try to remember that anything that has lived has life energy in it, and that life energy can be harnessed and used again!

The trouble with throwing food out with the trash is multifaceted:

  • Food has high water content, and it is actually very heavy, which makes it expensive to transport.
  • By some estimates we waste at least a third of the food that is produced for human consumption. That’s a lot of waste! More food ends up in landfills than plastic or paper.
  • When buried in landfills, trapped under materials that cannot decompose, oxygen doesn’t reach the food. Without oxygen, food can’t decompose properly and ends up producing methane gas, which is a huge problem globally. Methane gas goes into the atmosphere and traps heat, contributing to global warming. Our landfills are considered one of the greatest sources of methane gas production on the planet.

Here is both a problem, and an opportunity to invoke the POWER OF ONE. Each one of us has the option of composting our own food instead of throwing it into the trash. One by one. It adds up.

Tune in next week for tips on composting whether you are a city or country dweller, have a home with a large yard or a small apartment with a patio.