Green Thoughts: Composting benefits environment

By James Walls
Campus News Editor

GreenThoughtsOur lives are filled with what seems an endless array of waste-products, and not just of the manufactured variety, such as soda bottles and aluminum cans. Egg shells, banana peels and other food scraps have seen their way to nearby landfills for many generations, and for no good reason. After all, even though these products cannot be recycled, they can be composted to better help the environment.

Composting is the process of turning organic matter, such as yard trimmings, food wastes and manure, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment for gardens. While there are various types of composting, even the simplest method can help benefit the environment.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), composting can reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers, avoid methane and leachate formulation in landfills, and even extend municipal landfill life by diverting organic materials from landfills. With benefits like these, it’s hard to see a positive to simply throwing out such products when there is another alternative.

So, how does someone go about composting? Well, for many, it is best to start small. A popular choice for many is simply an indoor or outdoor worm compost bin, custom built to the size you desire.

As in the words of Jamil Shariff, author of “50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius,” he states that, “Certain types of worms are able to digest large amounts of organic waste if kept in a suitable environment.” Therefore, housing a few worms in a plastic bin at your home might not be a bad idea, if you know what you’re doing. While his book gives an example of how to make an easy and affordable worm compost bin, other examples can easily be found on YouTube and various websites, as well.

There is one important thing to know about worm composters, however, and that is that not just anything can be placed in them. While eggshells and vegetables are a good food source for worms, meats and cheeses are harder for them to eat and digest, therefore going bad before the process can be completed. To avoid smells, such foods should be excluded from your compost bin.

Whether starting small with your compost or thinking big, every little bit counts. So next time, consider if adding it to the landfills is truly necessary. After all, it’s not too late to think green.