There are plenty of very good reasons for gardeners to make compost, but above all, it spares the environment the damage caused by burying or burning waste, reduces the need to destroy natural habitats by excavating peat, and saves you money.
DON'T DUMP IT, RECYCLE IT
US household garbage adds up to more than 200 million tons a year, or roughly 5 pounds (2 kg) per person per day, of which about a quarter is recycled. Only about ten percent of British household waste is recycled, which puts the UK near the bottom of the European league. Some countries, like Germany and Denmark, do much better, although a few are even worse. Most waste is incinerated or ends up in landfill, yet about half of all household waste could be composted.
At the same time, every year gardeners around the world buy millions of tons of growing media, soil conditioners, and mulching materials, much of it based on peat. A high proportion of this could be replaced, free of charge, if gardeners started recycling what they now simply throw away.
Incinerated waste is returned immediately to the air as carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases, causing air pollution and contributing to global warming. Organic matter in landfill also slowly decays, but the main product is methane, an even worse greenhouse gas than CO2, and 25 percent of US methane emissions come from biodegradable waste in landfill sites.
The soil is also the safest place for waste organic matter. Once returned to temperate soils as compost, some organic matter stays there, often for a long time. More widespread use of compost by farmers and gardeners could make a small but significant contribution to the commitments made in the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 to reduce CO emissions.
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