The Pros and Cons of Composting: Everything you need to know
If we want to learn how to make a composting toilet work properly, a logic place to start is with the pros and cons of composting.
Composting is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while also producing an excellent fertilizer for plants. Composting can even be done in small spaces like your own backyard!
But before you start, there are some things you should know. Although there are many benefits of composting, it does have its drawbacks too.
Let’s find out!
How does composting benefit the environment?
Compost is a natural fertilizer that has been used for centuries to restore soil health. Composting happens when organic matter decomposes, which can be done in any environment with the help of micro organisms.
The process releases nutrients into the soil, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which plants need to grow. This benefits the ecosystem by providing more food sources for animals and plants alike.
Compost also helps reduce pollution by taking up excess carbon from places like factories or power plants and storing it underground where it will not contribute to greenhouse gases.
By using compost instead of synthetic fertilizers, farmers are able to produce nutrient-rich agriculture without damaging their land or water quality. Composting can even help to improve water retention and soil structure.
The United States produces 550 billion pounds of waste every year. That is a LOT of garbage!
Composting is an eco-friendly way to break down organic material such as leaves, lawn clippings, plant debris, and food scraps into a nutrient-rich soil amendment for agricultural applications or mulch for landscaping needs.
Want to take it a step further? A composting toilet is often known as the most eco-friendly toilet!
Can compost cause health problems?
Although compost is a great way to recycle food scraps and garden waste, it’s important to know that compost can also cause health issues if not properly cared for.
Some of these problems include an increase in the release of ammonia and methane from decomposing material, which can lead to respiratory distress.
If the compost is filled with pet waste or other toxic chemicals, it needs to be processed further before going into an edible garden.
Dumping unwanted garbage into a compost pile of organic material would destroy any possible benefits by introducing chemicals and biological agents which could potentially harm people’s health from the pathogens present in mold spores in the garbage.
You should always wash your hands after handling compost materials because parasites can survive the hot process and remain viable on skin or clothing for many days, multiplying if exposed to moisture found inside human mouths or noses, making them easy to transmit without ever touching another person.
The advantages of composting
Composting is a natural process that can help your garden grow healthier and stronger.
It’s also an environmentally friendly way of recycling organic matter so it doesn’t go to waste. Here are the advantages of composting:
1. Composting is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint
There are two main ways that composting helps protect the environment.
The first is through recycling our food waste back into something productive and useful, like healthy soil for planting food crops or green space.
The second is by reducing waste going into landfills – which in turn reduces greenhouse gas and methane emissions from decomposing materials in these areas.
2. It’s easy to compost at home with just a little space and some time
Composting at home only requires a little space and some time.
Composting won’t just reduce your household waste, but can also make your garden more fertile and help the environment by turning biological materials into a natural resources. With a composting bin, you can turn kitchen scraps into a nutrient-rich soil additive for the flowerbeds.
For people who live in urban or suburban areas and lack yard space to grow vegetables, it can be difficult to find ways to participate in sustainable food practices.
Composting provides an opportunity that doesn’t require any yard work but still allows you to contribute to your lawn.
A compost bin made from either wood or plastic will do the trick, just make sure its size matches what you need – too small may not allow enough airflow while too large could mean more effort than necessary with emptying once full.
3. You can use compost in your garden or as fertilizer for plants
Compost is the perfect organic fertilizer, and it’s an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical fertilizers. The composting process also naturally eliminates weeds that are growing in the pile of materials being composted.
Composting is the process of breaking down organic materials into rich, dark, crumbly soil. This allows plants to get more from the soil and leaves them less work.
Compost can be added to garden beds when planting and can improve drainage as well as provide nutrients for your flowers or vegetables. It also helps replenish soils with worms that aerate the earth and assist in water absorption.
Furthermore, this process is a good way to get rid of unwanted trees, bushes, grass clippings, leaves, twigs, or other yard waste that you might not want to take in large quantities to the local dump or landfill.
For every pound of food waste turned into composting bins, there will be 90% less methane gas released than would be emitted by food decomposing on your property, which means better air quality for those living nearby.
4. The best way to dispose of food scraps is by composting
The best way to dispose of food scraps is by composting process because natural microbes break the scraps down into rich soil-like fertilizer.
On the other hand, garbage disposals flush nutrients and produce away and lack key microorganisms that aid with decomposition.
Composting your small bits of biodegradable waste materials, such as peels from vegetables and fruit scraps or coffee grounds, by leaving them in a compost pile for a few weeks is all it takes.
Simply said, you’re actually just turning your kitchen waste into new soil!
Even better, the nutrients in the compost will make the dirt even better for planting later on.
In fact, this is the best way to dispose of food scraps because it helps preserve our vital ecosystems that provide safe produce and healthy living.
5. A compost pile can produce rich soil in as little as 3 months
A well-managed compost pile can produce rich soil in as little as 3 months when composting correctly, and functioning compost bins are a good way to maintain optimum temperatures for the decomposition process.
The key is to keep a pile hot because high temperatures kill weed seeds and pathogenic microbes, while the cooler side of the bin will produce valuable materials such as mulch or bedding material for your garden.
And with more than one type of material, you’ll have a better-finished product faster by giving different bacteria time to work on different sections of organic matter.
Composting is not ideal for animal waste, and it’s best to keep animal manure out of the system while it is in its early stages and then add it after the plant materials have decomposed fully.
It’s best to start with 2-3 weeks without animal waste before introducing it.
The pros and cons of composting: Disadvantages
Composting is an important part of sustainability and conserving resources. But there are disadvantages to composting that you should be aware of before you start doing it on your own!
Let’s take a look at why composting might not be your best option for getting rid of food waste.
1. Waste from composting must be managed carefully
One disadvantage of composting is that waste from some composting methods must be managed carefully. You must make sure that the compost you’re generating doesn’t make it into local waterways by disrupting ecosystems, negatively affecting wildlife and agricultural sources.
In addition to this issue, there are various concerns about how best to manage the organic matter in your pile. Adding too much water will reduce its temperature (and slow decomposition) while skipping this important step will lead to rapid ammonia production which isn’t healthy for microbes or for us!
It’s also important not to let compost piles dry out completely during periods without rain.
2. Compost may attract rodents and other pests
Pests are attracted to substances that provide nutrients and habitat for the creature’s population. In this case, compost is both a food source as well as a house for pests.
Compost piles also serve as a potential breeding ground for rats, flies, roaches, and other common nuisance pests that spread disease and make unsanitary conditions.
This is made worse by vegetative debris that can quickly overheat from composting bins if they are not properly sealed off from insects and plant decomposers. These creatures will get into your pile which will then produce overflow odors as opposed to pleasant aromas or invites unwanted guests.
3. Composting may not always work in certain climates or areas with large populations
Depending on the type of climate you live in or where you live, composting may not be practical and will present difficulties such as the increased risk of contamination from pets or wild animals or a lack of water availability due to drought.
Too much rainfall can also inhibit composting because seeds that were included with the food scraps might sprout and then die without proper care.
Composting may not be practical in areas with a large population. Compost can generate quite a powerful aroma if it is not stored correctly, and these smells can often be very unpleasant.
For this reason, people living on small residential streets that are close to their neighbors could face problems due to smell alone if they do not manage their compost pile correctly.
The bottom line
You might be surprised to hear that composting is one of the best things you can do for your garden and environment, but it’s not always easy.
The process takes some time and effort, so make sure you are prepared before jumping in head first!
If this sounds like something worth trying out, start by understanding what makes a good compost pile, then find out how to get started with our step-by-step guide on how to turn waste into fertilizer right at home.
Want to learn more? Read our top facts on composting!