1) Enrichment of soil – nutrients in compost regenerate poor or contaminated soils and helps suppress plant diseases and pests, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and promoting higher productivity yields.
2) Health, safety and cost – composting converts organic waste into valuable nutrients for soil in a cheap and hygienic way instead of contributing to the already existing problem of landfill shortage.
3) Prevents pollution – organic matters rotting in landfills produce methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more damaging than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, wet food waste can contaminate our water systems. Conversely, compost acts as a filter, preventing pollutants in stormwater runoff to reach surface water resources.
In nature, compost is constantly formed as plants and animals die. With the help of decomposers such as bacteria, fungi and earthworms, plant and animal remains decompose into simpler nutrients that are then released into the soil. This process aids in future plant growth by allowing the soil to hold more water and air. In addition, it binds soil together to prevent erosion. We can mimic this natural process and ensure that our gardens are healthy and productive by creating compost with our organic waste that would otherwise be sent to landfills.
About half of the organic waste we send to landfills can be diverted and turned into compost. Composting has so many benefits yet not enough of us do it because we either don’t feel we have the know-how, tools or resources available to facilitate composting and/or it is simply easier for us to just throw everything in the trash and not think twice about it. If more people were aware of the seriousness of the overall trash problem and the environmental ramifications that will affect everyone in the not too distant future, we would be more inclined to take action.
As we learned during our research into finding a composting facility in the Indianapolis area, it is clear that one of the challenges our communities face is the lack of composting facilities and services available to us. This is not only true of Indianapolis but across the country. Although this is slowly starting to change, we need to bring about change faster – the longer it takes for us to take action, the more irreversible damage we, and our environment, will endure. The only way to encourage municipalities and private businesses to invest in composting facilities, processes and services is to create more demand.
At Chef JJ’s we are currently working with GreenCycle to come up with a system for pick up of our food waste to be composted and turned into rich, productive soil. We hope that as more restaurants in the area become interested in composting, we can improve this system to be more efficient and cost effective, as well as encourage more investors and businesses to take part.
We hope you won’t be discouraged by the lack of composting facilities and services currently available – with a little bit of research and effort, you too can compost! For those of you who are interested in creating your own compost for your garden but don’t know how to get started, a simple internet search will provide you with all the information you need – here are a couple of helpful links: