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Is Composting Environmentally Friendly?

A double-width bin with compost at different s...Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that composting releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? Yes, it's true. So you may be wondering how is this an environmentally friendly thing to do.

Did you also know that when things decompose in the landfill, methane is produced? Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The difference between the landfill and your home compost bin is air. An aerated compost bin is getting the oxygen it needs to undergo aerobic decomposition. The lack of oxygen in a landfill is causing anaerobic decomposition which as a byproduct produces methane.

That means that by composting your food and garden waste, you're keeping it out of the landfills and decreasing the amount of methane that going into our atmosphere. Not bad for a pile of garbage.

Obviously this is a very general explanation that doesn't take into account a lot of variables but you get the idea. A well tended compost bin is much better for the environment than sending all of your waste to the landfill.

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  1. Silli said...
    Great post! It is important to acknowledge how home gardening practices can reduce global warming emissions.
    Ed Bruske said...
    If everything we put in the compost pile were allowed to compost naturally, it would release the same amount of CO2, no? Keeping it out of the landfill is definitely a bonus. I am inclined to believe that composting in a very "hot" fashion, however, releases more CO2 than if things are allowed to decompose more slowly. But I have yet to find a soil scientist who will confirm that for me.
    Anthony said...
    Hi Ed,
    Yes, it makes sense that a hot pile would release more CO2 or at least release it more quickly.

    But my main point was about the methane. It is my understanding that methane is 21 times more effective at preventing infrared radiation from escaping the atmosphere than CO2.
    Chiot's Run said...
    Plus you're saving because you're not having to buy fertlizer which is polluting during production, transportation and when you have to drive & pick it up. Not to mention the damage to your soil.
    Anthony said...
    Yes, those are awesome point too!
    Mr.Dirty Boots said...
    Great post. I must say though, I look at composting as a must purely from the point of view of improving my land. The fact it allows you to grow more and better crops is the main factor.

    I could never imagine sending anything to landfill that could just be put on the heap.

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