Composting: How it works and why you should try it

New York, New York - Composting your food scraps is a simple piece of climate action you can take, with a slick combo effect.

You start with the leftover scraps from your kitchen or meal, and you end up with soil!
You start with the leftover scraps from your kitchen or meal, and you end up with soil!  © 123RF/terra2024

Composting takes leftovers, food waste, and even plant bits, like leaves, and chucks it all into a pile. The final result is what green-thumbed hobby gardeners and farmers call black gold.

This is a great way to do good by the environment. By recycling food into compost, you can take a stand against the climate crisis.

And there are plenty of good reasons to get started turning your organic waste into plant food.

Compost improves soil health, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and even improve water quality and fight the effects of droughts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

What makes compost?

The ideal compost is a rich dark soil-like mix that can fight grass seeds, give plants tasty nutrients, and even help crops fight diseases.

All it takes is your leftover food goodies, like onion skins, potato peelings, or eggshells, and a nice spot to chill out.

Then, you can toss in some wood chips or other plant matter, like leaves, and let the whole pile do its thing.

It's actually a collection of bacteria, types of fungus, and little worms that do the heavy lifting. They break down the organic matter, and a compost heap just gives them a perfect place to do it at top speed.

Uplifting compost

Morales (second from left) and Compost Power volunteers and workers stand in front of a newly prepared compost site.
Morales (second from left) and Compost Power volunteers and workers stand in front of a newly prepared compost site.  © Screenshot/Instagram/compostpower

Besides helping fight climate change, composting can also be a powerful way to grow and lift up your community.

Domingo Morales, who grew up in the Bronx, told The New York Times about his passion for composting and how he turned it into a massive project that helps people and the planet.

He founded Compost Power to get people hooked on composting, sustainability, and even provide job training, all while doing what he can to show people how easy it is to get started.

Morales told the NYT, "For many years, compost has been that evil, stinky upper class thing that white people do. But it’s really a great introduction to sustainability as a whole."

Climate action is as easy as taking your kitchen scraps and putting them on a compost heap or in your organic waste bin (if your city provides them).

Cover photo: 123RF/terra2024

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