Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Composting For Life...

One of the things we can all do to help the Earth is learn to compost all possible vegetable matter. Composting returns vital nutrients to the soil and keeps down the need for chemical fertilizers made from petroleum products, and at the same time, composting can reduce the material going into landfills by up to 30%.

In a composter or compost pile, a potato peel, for instance, will break down and yield back to the Earth vital carbon, minerals, and nitrogen that were consumed as the potato grew. In a landfill, tightly sealed from air, water, and light, that same potato peel could take a century or more to break down, and then it will still be sealed away from the surrounding soils. This is because the landfill must be sealed off to prevent the other things in it that are toxic from reaching ground water. Add up millions of potato peels thrown away over a year, and you have a lot of wasted landfill space and vital soil nutrients.

Considering the strained capacity of existing landfills, reducing matter input to them by 30% would help them last that much longer. At the same time, our soils gain all those nutrients, and are more able to sustain plant growth and the natural cycle of life, including food production, forests, and other beneficial plants.

At this point, many of you are probably thinking, "Potato peels? They can't really amount to that much!" Of course not. They're a small part of the bigger picture. But when you start looking at all the vegetable matter that goes into landfills, like yard waste, paper grocery bags, newspaper, magazines, all household vegetable scraps, etc., suddenly the volume and scope look a lot larger. Now add in waste sawdust from lumber mills, wood scraps from construction sites, paper food wrappers, and cardboard boxes. Suddenly the picture looms much larger, doesn't it?

Even if you don't garden, compost can be donated to local farms or community garden plots - enriching local food production. Now, add in the factor of reduced need for shipping foods great distances as more food is able to be produced locally.

The effect of any individual composter is small, but when you add them up to the potential in the "waste" of millions of families and businesses world-wide, it creates a huge cumulative effect. Even food spoilage of produce not able to be eaten in time feels a bit less "wasteful" when you realize that those spoiled vegetables, stale bread and doughnuts, etc. are going to enrich the soil in your garden or the local far for next years' crop.

Composting is an essential tool and skill for the conscientious Earth Steward.

In peace and harmony, under grace, in perfect ways and in perfect time, let this message be heard.

No comments:

Post a Comment