Using and making compost benefits the entire planet. Here’s how composting protects the environment as it nurtures our gardens.
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Environmental Benefits of Composting
Some composting benefits are well known: the practice keeps stuff out of landfills, which are rapidly reaching capacity across North America; it promotes healthy plants; and it reduces the use of pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers, many of which can be harmful to the environment (and to the fish, animals and humans that live in it.)
If you’re looking for a fast, convenient way to compost your kitchen throw-outs, grass clippings and organic yard waste, our compact unit is just right for you! The Compact ComposTumbler quickly recycles it into nutrient-rich compost.
But composting can help the environment in a number of less obvious ways. Fertilizers, a major source of water pollution, bind to compost in soil, preventing them from leaching into groundwater or waterways. Some of the micro-organisms in compost can also bind heavy metals in soil, again keeping them from leaching into water. Other micro-organisms can actually break down some pollutants into less toxic chemicals. Compost is now frequently used to help remediate (or decontaminate) polluted sites.
On a slightly bigger scale…
More and more cities, towns, universities, farms and schools are composting what used to be thrown away. These composting facilities often dwarf backyard operations. The photo below shows a worm bin at Southern Illinois University, where two million worms dine on cafeteria waste including milk cartons and napkins.
Troughs of hungry redworms feast on university leftovers as part of SIUC’s vermicomposting project. Source: “Vermicomposting Center” Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.
What products to compost
You will be able to source all of the essential elements in order to build a great compost pile without having to look too far! As long as your carbon to nitrogen ratio is optimal (25-30:1) your compost pile will be breaking down properly. Here are some lists of acceptable additions:
Carbon Rich Material "Browns"
Cardboard (free of dyes)
Stems & twigs
Nitrogen Rich Material "Greens"
Kitchen food waste
Weeds (that have NOT gone to seed)
Things to Avoid
Diseased plant material
Manures from carnivorous animals
As for the rhododendron and holly leaves, you can definitely put them in your compost pile. However, it is a good idea to really chop or shred them up, as they take much longer to break down due to their fibrous and waxy make up. It really depends on how quickly you are trying to create usable compost. It might be a good idea to have a separate pile going that you incorporate those leaves into and another pile that you do not. That way you can have a pile you know will rapidly break down into garden goodness and have yet another ready to use later on. Good luck!
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