Benefits of home composting



Like many households we were always looking for an environmentally friendly way to dispose of our food waste. Being eco-friendly we also wanted to keep our trash cans odor free and reduce our household waste. Like death and taxes, composting happens - whether we want it to or not. Though all organic matter will eventually decompose (despite neglect), the trick is to get your pile to decompose as fast as you can fill it. The rate at which breakdown occurs depends on several factors: oxygenation, temperature, water content, particulate surface area, and the carbon:nitrogen ratio. Like painting, composting is more art than a rigid science, and can at times require a bit of finesse and skill. However, with patience and a little practice, you can have ready-to-use humus for your garden in 6-8 weeks.

Along with fuel efficiency, water conservation, and reduction in meat consumption, home composting is one of the most environmentally beneficial activities of modern society. Yard and food wastes make up approximately 30% of the waste stream in the US. Not only does composting successfully divert a significant portion of your family's waste stream from the landfill and water treatment facilities, it is a natural method of recycling organic materials into valuable humus. Finished compost is nutritious enough to use as a soil amendment, buffering the pH and helping to retain water in the soil. It can cool the soil's surface, and help mitigate erosion. Why buy topsoil when you create your own endless supply?

Home composting also serves as an invaluable educational tool, teaching youngsters about conservation, the cycle of life, and inter-connectedness of the natural world. If it gets your child thinking about science or biology, or voluntarily participating in gardening and yard work, isn't it well worth the effort?

Composting is the process of producing compost through aerobic decomposition of biodegradable organic matter. The decomposition is performed primarily by aerobes, although larger creatures such as ants, nematodes, and oligochaete worms also contribute. This decomposition occurs naturally in all but the most hostile environments, such as within landfills, extremely arid deserts or cold weather such as boreal winters or polar regions, which prevent the microbes and other decomposers from thriving.

Composting can be divided into the two areas of home composting and industrial composting. Both scales of composting use the same biological processes, however techniques and different factors must be taken into account.

Composting is the controlled decomposition of organic matter. Rather than allowing nature to take its slow course, a composter provides an optimal environment in which decomposers can thrive. To encourage the most active microbes, a compost pile needs the correct mix of the following ingredients:
• Carbon
• Nitrogen
• Oxygen (in the case of aerobic composting)
• Water

Home composters use a range of techniques, varying from extremely passive composting (throw everything in a pile in a corner and leave it alone for a year or two) to extremely active (monitoring the temperature, turning the pile regularly, and adjusting the ingredients over time). Some composters use mineral powders to absorb smells, although a well-maintained pile seldom has bad odors.

Disposing of household food waste is a big problem for many households. Throwing food in the trash can creates odors, flies, vermin and other unpleasant things while waiting for trash pickup.

Throwing food down the garbage disposal might seem like a reasonable alternative until the disposal clogs. Garbage disposals also create odors in the kitchen sink. Unfortunately garbage disposals also send unnecessary waste through the sanitary sewage system which creates more processing demand by the municipality. It is yet another drain on our water supply.

If you live in the country and do not have city sewer but use a septic system you cannot have a garbage disposal. You may not have the weekly trash pickup enjoyed by city dwellers. You may find it necessary to haul your dirty smelly garbage to the local landfill yourself.

Food wastes and their disposal also impact the growing garbage crisis in this country. India is a throw away society. Landfills are overburdened by our wastes. If all of us recycled our plastics, cans and bottles, and composted our left over food we could make significant progress in reducing the strain on our landfills. The environment would benefit.

Compost produced in as little as 3 weeks in summer.

Unique tumbling action tips the contents from top to bottom to give maximum aeration.

Grass clippings composted easily either on their own or mixed with other ingredients.

At least four loads of compost can be produced in the time it takes traditional methods to produce one.

Optimum size allows young and old to tumble the bin, even when full.

Gardeners have long been aware of the benefits of adding rich organic nutrients to the soil by composting. Now, thanks to the Tumbleweed Compost Bin, backyard and urban gardeners of all ages and abilities can compost quickly and cleanly.

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