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Compost – Nature’s Climate Champion

An up-close shot of a pair of hands holding compost with a background of food scraps including egg shells and carrot and potato skins

Celebrate International Compost Awareness Week from May 7-11, 2024

Do you know the key to a thriving yard and garden? It’s composting! Composting is a process that turns organic matter like leaves and food scraps into a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer. Adding compost – the product that comes from composting – helps build healthy soils for stronger plants that need less water and chemical products to grow. Compost is such a rockstar that it’s celebrated across the world every May during International Compost Awareness Week. But the benefits don’t stop there. Composting helps combat climate change! Here’s how:

Preventing greenhouse gas emissions at the landfill

When food and yard waste end up at the landfill, they release methane gas as they decompose. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to the rise of global temperatures. Composting diverts waste from the landfill and turns food and yard scraps into an effective natural yard care resource instead.

Drawing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it in soil

Compost is a part of a practice called carbon farming which draws carbon dioxide from the air and stores it in the soil in a process called carbon sequestration. Carbon farming not only helps fight climate change, but it also creates landscapes that are more resilient to the effects of a warming climate like drought and flooding.

If you want to be a compost champion, it’s easy to start right at home. The first step is to choose the right composting system for you.

Yard waste composting

  • You’ll need: Simple piles or plastic wood or wire bins. Whatever you choose, you will need to regularly move and turn the compost.
  • Do compost: Grass clippings, leaves, stalks, dead plants, twigs up to pencil diameter, and most non-invasive weeds.
  • Don’t compost: Invasive and noxious weed seeds and plants, diseased plants, pet waste, clippings treated with weed or bug killers, or food waste.

Food waste composting

  • You’ll need: A closed container that can keep rats, flies, and other animals out. You can also bury food scraps in your garden. A tip is that the best food waste composting systems include red worms.
  • Do compost: Vegetables and fruits, bread, grains, spoiled food, coffee filters and tea bags, eggshells, fruit from yard, and food soiled paper or cardboard.
  • Don’t compost: Meat, fish, and dairy attract rats, so put these in your food and yard waste cart. Pet waste goes in the garbage.

Learn more about growing health soils by using the tips in our guide. And, if you’ve got a question about setting up a home composting system, or how to use compost to get your plants growing long and strong, just give the experts at The Garden Hotline a ring at 206-633-0224

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