Composting Benefits & Uses

Compost

Benefits of Composting

  1. Saves Money & Landfill Space - According to the EPA, 94% of the food we throw away ends up in the landfill.  In 2015, Americans disposed 37.6 million tons of food waste.  For every pound of organic material composted at home, it is one less pound that must be collected, transported, and deposited in the landfill. 
  2. Saves Water - Compost reduces a plant's needs for water by increasing how much water can be held by the soil.  Only a 5% increase in organic material quadruples the soil's water holding capacity1.  Additionally, when compost is added to bare soils as a thin layer, it will keep soil moisture from evaporating, a practice called top-dressing. 
  3. Reduces Methane Emissions from Landfills and Lowers Your Carbon Footprint - When you add organic matter to a landfill, the anaerobic (absence of oxygen) bacteria starts decomposing the waste. This type of bacteria produces 50% carbon dioxide and 50% methane (a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide).   
  4. Enriches Soil - Compost provides soil with a vast number of beneficial microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, and the habitat that the microbes need to live. The microbes extract nutrients from the mineral part of the soil and eventually pass the nutrients on to plants. 
  5. Reduces the Need for Chemical Fertilizers - Compost is a rich source of nutrients and significantly reduces or eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

Uses of Compost

There are four ways in which you can use your compost in your yard and garden.

  1. A soil amendment  
  2. A moisture holding mulch
  3. A top dressing for your lawn
  4. Compost tea

Sources

​​1. Compost Fundamentals, Compost Benefits and Uses. Washington State University, Whatcom County Extension. Accessed on 28 January 2015.