About Me

Someone who fell in love with the natural world early on and has been smitten ever since. A blade of grass, a mighty mountain, a tiny raindrop, a roaring waterfall, all fill me with awe and wonder. Nature feels home, filled with warmth and love. It pains my heart to see this home being ravaged. This blog is an effort to find tweaks in modern living to preserve the sanctity of this home. I sincerely hope that you join me in this green karmic journey.

Wednesday 26 January 2022

Why Compost?

Compost - Black Gold
Compost aka Black Gold

Good question! 

With a fantastic answer:)

Because it's a Win-Win-Win. For you, your plants and your environment. 

Composting is like witnessing the circle of life. It shows you how everything is interconnected and how one system feeds into another. 

You eat veggies and fruits and discard the peels. Those peels get mixed with soil and dried leaves. Microbes feast on this mix and decompose it. The decomposed mix is an elixir for plants, which you eat. Repeat. 

Those of you who are convinced, stop reading here and start setting up the composting process. Those who need more convincing, read on!

Why compost?

1. To save organic matter from going into landfills: 

Organic matter is what makes the soil rich and healthy. Throwing away organic matter is a double whammy - robbing the soil of nutrients and clogging landfills with stuff that emits a greenhouse gas. Basically, throwing something incredibly useful to make it totally harmful. How smart is that!(And it takes the smartest species on earth to accomplish this!)

Organic matter doesn't biodegrade in a landfill. On the contrary, it emits methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas which is at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. 

When you compost, you reduce greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere. Imagine that - you could be a global-warming-fighter operating right from your home. Feel the green cape fluttering around you yet?

2. For your kids: 

Kids know the pressing issues of climate change. They're the ones who will suffer the consequences the most. 

When kids see you act, they'll take pride in the fact that their family is a part of the solution. When helping you with composting, they'll learn the process and when they run their own households, a composter would be a natural part of their homes. Action speaks more than words. 

Don't we all want a good future for our kids? One of the coolest gifts for them would be a cool Earth!

3. To improve soil health: 

There are alarming reports about how earth's topsoil is depleting. 
With our current ways, we could run out of topsoil in another 60 years. 

No topsoil = No crops 
No crops = No food

When you compost and return the goodness to earth, you help improve soil quality. Healthy soil also holds much more water and helps reduce erosion and flooding. If you grow vegetables and flowers, this nutritious compost is like manna from heaven. Even if you don't grow anything, having good soil quality is good for your yard.

4. To conserve fuel:

By reducing the organic and yard waste going out of your household, you're not only easing the burden on overflowing landfills, but you're also helping conserve fuel that is required to ferry this waste till landfills. 

Less kitchen waste to be carried around = Less fuel consumed. 

5. To reduce your trash bag content and hence trash bag usage:

Look into your filled trash bag. How much organic waste is in there? 

If you cook most of your meals with fresh produce, the proportion of organic waste in your trash bag would be quite high. You can divert all this organic waste to your compost bin. Less trash means fewer trash bags too. 

In addition, gardening waste bags will also get reduced because you can divert leaves and garden clippings to the compost bin as well. 

More bags saved, yay!! (In fact, this is what motivated me to start composting. I used to recycle stuff wherever I could. It was the kitchen waste that could not be stored for long and needed a plastic bag for disposal. I cringed every time I had to use a plastic bag for kitchen waste. So one fine day, I said enough is enough and started composting.)

6. To get rid of stinky kitchen trash bins: 

In single family homes in the US, waste is not collected daily. It's collected weekly at my place. You're supposed to store the kitchen waste for a week, which starts to rot. Soon, the trash bin starts smelling and it takes courage to open the lid even to toss in the waste.

A much cleaner alternative is to dispose kitchen scraps in a composter. By adding browns and with proper aeration, the waste decomposes without unpleasant smells.

7. To express your love to your houseplants: 

"Jo gardening se kare pyaar, wo composting se kaise kare inkaar!" 
(My non- Hindi speaking readers, please excuse my take on a famous jingle from the 80s:))

If you like plants and gardening, you'll love composting. Remember the joy when you spot a seedling sprout, a flower bloom or a baby tomato peek through leaves? Composting gives you the same woozy feeling of happiness when you see your kitchen scraps convert into life giving black gold!

8. To witness a beautiful natural process: 

Nature does not know waste. Every output is an input. It just converts one useful resource into another. 

Nature also shows an intricate interconnection between everything. Take a piece away, and you jeopardize the whole system. Composting gives you a subtle reminder of this interdependence.

Are you convinced yet?

I can keep adding to the list in different ways. But the gist remains that if you take from the earth with one hand, you should return to it with the other. Composting completes this give and take and completes the circle of life. 

Doubts? Keep them coming! But the best way to slay your doubts is to start the process and learn along the way. For the rest, there's Google, FB composting groups, composting practitioners in your locality and this blog! :) You can post your questions in the comments section and I'll try my best to answer them.