Composting is a natural process that converts organic material – like food and yard waste – into nutrient-rich soil amendment often called “humus” or compost. When we compost organic waste in our backyards, we create a natural environment where decomposer organisms – like bacteria, insects, worms and fungi – can break down organic waste and recycle nutrients back into the soil. Backyard composting lets us recycle just like nature does.
Why is composting important?
Reduces Waste Sent to the Landfill – It may be surprising to learn that organic waste represents as much as 30% of the waste we generate in Newfoundland and Labrador. Composting programs can reduce the amount of waste we send to our overburdened landfills.
Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Organics buried in a landfill break down very slowly and without the presence of oxygen. When this happens, methane gas – a greenhouse gas – is produced.
Reduces Pollution – When organics break down without the presence of oxygen, as they do at the landfill, a toxic liquid known as leachate (the liquid that runs from a dump) is produced. Leachate can pollute our soil and drinking water sources.
Reduces the Need for Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides – Finished compost (or humus) is a rich, natural fertilizer that returns valuable nutrients back into the soil promoting the growth of healthy plants.
Lowers Waste Disposal Costs – Putting less waste to the curb also means less waste has to be collected and transported; therefore lowering waste disposal costs.