The Benefits and Power of Composting

Composting Basics

Simply put, composting is the process of breaking down or decomposing of organic solid wastes in the presence of air. It requires three basic ingredients:

  • Browns: Materials such as dead leaves, twigs, and branches
  • Greens: Materials like vegetable waste, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and fruit scraps
  • Water: The right amount of water is as important as the above two ingredients for obtaining quality compost

Composting is an easy and extremely rewarding phenomenon, the end result of which is useful in growing the next generation of crops, while also improving the quality of soils and water. Though there is a science of compost, you don’t need to understand the nitty gritty details it in order to make great soil and reduce your food waste.

Composting Benefits

Some of the benefits of compost are described below and might encourage you to put food waste to good use. Let’s take a look:

  1. It is rich in nutrients which help improve the soil’s texture, structure, fertility, and nutrient-retention capacity. It makes soil healthy, which eventually enhances the quality and encourages higher yields of agricultural crops
  2. It reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. The fruits and vegetables produced in soil treated with compost are more likely to be healthy and free from hazardous, chemical-laden fertilizers
  3. It helps increase the water-retention capacity of plants. It can act as a natural evaporation barrier for the soil in which it is added, thus reducing the frequency of watering. So, with the right amount of compost in the soil, the need to water the plants is reduced (which eventually helps you save on the water bill).
  4. It is known for its ability to capture and destroy around 99.6% of industrial volatile organic chemicals, or VOCs, in the contaminated air. VOCs are extremely hazardous materials which can cause throat, nose, and eye irritation, and may even damage the kidneys and liver over time.
  5. It can help aid wetlands restoration and reforestation.
  6. It provides carbon sequestration. Soil carbon sequestration is a process in which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil carbon pool. Thus, soils can help reduce the atmospheric concentration of CO2 if managed well. Good quality compost helps soil better absorb CO2.

A Brilliant Solution to the Food Waste Problem

Now let’s consider why composting is a powerful solution for addressing the problem of food waste:

  • Tons of food waste ends up in landfills where it decomposes in absence of oxygen and produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Composting puts food discarded as waste to good use by turning it into compost — a highly beneficial product
  • Thousands of dollars are spent on handling, transporting, and disposing of food waste. If this food waste is composted instead, it can save citizens and authorities money.
  • If the food waste is dumped in trash bins, it attracts harmful pests such as insects and rodents. It also generates bad odors. However, if the food waste is composted in sealed, durable, reusable, and leak-proof containers, these sanitation problems can be reduced or eliminated.

If serious efforts are put into reducing the production of food waste and composting it on both residential and commercial levels, the problem of food waste can be reduced to a great extent. This can prove beneficial on economic as well as environmental levels.


Author Bio: Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment through effective recycling techniques and modern innovations. He works with Compactor Management Company and writes on a variety of topics related to recycling, including tips and advice on how balers, compactors, and shredders can be used to reduce industrial waste. He loves helping businesses understand how to lower their monthly garbage bills and increase revenue from recycling. Erich can be reached at or visit

Written by Rob Nelson

Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is the co-creator and director of Untamed Science. His goal is to create videos and content that are entertaining, accurate, and educational. When he's not making science content, he races whitewater kayaks and works on Stone Age Man.

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