What do you do with all your biodegradable waste— the scraps of food, the trimmings from bushes, the grass clippings left over from mowing your lawn? As you may know, one possible solution is composting the material, allowing it to naturally break down and decompose to create soil-enriching material. But did you know that there are some disadvantages to composting? Check out our roundup of the top pros and cons of composting.
Pro #1: Less in Landfills
By putting your food scraps and garden waste into a compost bin instead of into the garbage can, you're significantly reducing your home's output of trash. That means less going into your local landfill, and more being recycled and reused.
Pro #2: Improved Soil Quality
Has your soil's richness and vitality been damaged in some way? Perhaps storm water has carried in oil or heavy metals that have affected your yard. Treating your soil with compost can help eliminate those harmful elements and restore the quality of the earth, improving the look of your lawn and garden.
Pro #3: Easy to Start
Composting is fairly easy to do, as long as you learn and follow the basic rules. You can buy composting bins in all sizes, from tiny ones that fit under your kitchen sink to large ones that you can place out back. You can even make your own compost bin using leftover wood or an unused garbage can.
Con #1: The Smell
If you add the right things to your compost pile, it should smell okay, for the most part. However, if you accidentally add bones, meat scraps, oily scraps, cheese shavings, or raw eggs to the compost pile, you're in for trouble. The smell can become terrible, and the compost bin can attract swarms of flies, small rodents, or even larger animals.
Con #2: The Risk of Bacteria
A compost bin can become a sanitary issue if you take things too far. For instance, do not be tempted to add your dog's poop or cat's feces to the pile— and never use human waste, either. These types of waste can contain harmful bacteria, and if you use the compost to enrich the garden soil, you could end up contaminating your crops and transmitting a disease to yourself and your family.
Con #3: A Soil Imbalance
Compost consists of air, water, carbon, and nitrogen. To really serve you well, your compost should have a ratio of 30:1 carbon to nitrogen. For more carbon, add dead leaves, sawdust, shredded paper, and wood ash to your pile. For additional nitrogen, supplement the compost pile with veggie scraps, used tea bags, coffee grounds, and bits of old fruit. If you don't create the right balance of carbon to nitrogen, your soil will suffer from that imbalance when you transfer your compost to the earth.
Composting is a worthy endeavor. However, it's important that you do the research and take the time to do it right. For waste management solutions and environmental consulting services, contact Kurtz Bros., Inc. We'll help you care for your soil and dispose of garden waste the right way.