Composting Benefits and Concerns – Part II

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports 27 percent of all solid waste in the United States is garden trimmings and food scraps; so every bit we compost keeps it out of the landfills. Composting reduces the usage of synthetic chemical fertilizers and increases the yield of crops. Likewise composting can remediate and revitalize soil that has been contaminated by hazardous waste, and also can remove oil and heavy metals from storm water runoff.

If you don’t follow the basic rules of composting then some health and safety concerns can arise example, never add meat or bone scraps, fatty foods, like oils, or dairy to compost. The pile will start to smell badly and attract unwanted pests like files and rodents. Do not use manure in composting, especially if the finished compost will be used to on vegetables. The bacteria from manure cause foodborne illnesses, such as Escherichia coli. DO NOT use human, or cat and dog feces; nor cat litter, they can transmit disease as well.  Compost should have four basic ingredients: nitrogen, carbon, water and air. The ideal environment for compost, a 30:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen.

Carbon comes from dry leaves, wood ashes/sawdust, and shredded paper.  While nitrogen is supplied by grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and teabags.

composting landscaping