When it comes to protecting the environment and stopping climate change, most people view it as a large scale problem that can only be solved on a large scale. Such as limiting the greenhouse gas emissions of power plants, and improving the emissions on our vehicles. These strategies can be greatly effective, but there are ways that individuals can take action to lower the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted by their waste by composting. Composting is a simple process in which you can use wasted food scraps and basically anything that is biodegradable to create a nutrient rich soil that can be used for gardening. Technically, composting is the process of aerobic decomposition of organic materials into a black soil that is beneficial as a soil conditioner, and a fertilizer. For composting to work effectively it requires four components, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and water. By composting, there is less waste going into landfills, which produce high levels of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) through anaerobic decomposition. In addition, since this process creates useful soil and fertilizer, it reduces the need for individuals with gardens to buy energy intensive fertilizers.
Composting can be done on a large or small scale with equal effectiveness, whether in a backyard or an apartment. For homeowners with a backyard, a compost pile can be created by simply sectioning off part of the yard with chicken wire. To begin a simple compost pile, start by layering between dry leaves and grass clippings, also known as “brown matter,” and food scraps. This will help speed up the decomposition process. Finally, the compost needs to be turned and raked with some sort of rake or pitch fork periodically, and in a few months there should be usable compost soil. This describes an open bin composting method. Closed containers can also be used for creating compost. A popular variety is a rotating drum compost container. It effectively works the same as the open bin concept except water has to be added to the container, and instead of raking the pile it just needs to be turned periodically. An advantage of using a closed container method is that it can be used in an apartment setting where there is no yard space available. Therefore, anyone can compost no matter the size of their home.
As can be seen, it is possible for everyone to compost their leftover food and waste into a useful product, but there is also great potential for composting on an industrial scale. Inevitably there is always going to be people who aren’t willing to put forth the time and effort it takes to manage a compost pile. Therefore, composting on a large industrial scale would allow the waste created by all of society, including those who are uninterested in composting at home, to be composted into something useful. There are several well established methods for composting on large scales, and it is a great alternative to allowing biodegradable waste to decompose into methane in landfills. For this to be effective, waste management companies could offer a composting service similar to the recycling services that exist already, and all the customers would have to do is keep their food scraps and other biodegradable waste in a separate container and place it outside on the designated pickup days. It would be the same as separating the recyclables from the trash, and would take a minimal amount of effort on the consumer end. As a result, everyone could be a part of composting their waste to help lower the levels of greenhouse gas emissions and create a useful byproduct, whether they want to do it on their own or not.