ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF COMPOST
The following are a few of the most important benefits:
(Source: Environmental Protection Agency)
Compost enriches soils: Compost has the ability to help regenerate poor soils. The composting process encourages the production of beneficial micro-organisms (mainly bacteria and fungi) which in turn break down organic matter to create humus. Humus–a rich nutrient-filled material–increases the nutrient content in soils and helps soils retain moisture.
Compost helps cleanup (remediate) contaminated soil: The composting process has been shown to absorb odors and treat semivolatile and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including heating fuels, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and explosives. It has also been shown to bind heavy metals and prevent them from migrating to water resources or being absorbed by plants.
Compost helps prevent pollution: Composting organic materials that have been diverted from landfills ultimately avoids the production of methane and leachate formulation in the landfills. Compost has the ability to prevent pollutants in stormwater runoff from reaching surface water resources. Compost has also been shown to prevent erosion and silting on embankments parallel to creeks, lakes, and rivers, and prevents erosion and turf loss.
Using compost offers economic benefits: Using compost can reduce the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides. It serves as a marketable commodity and is a low-cost alternative to standard landfill cover and artificial soil amendments. Composting also extends landfill life by diverting organic materials from landfills and provides a less costly alternative to conventional methods of remediating (cleaning) contaminated soil.
Here are some composting resources (many of these will be used during the annual workshops).
Composting BMP (PDF)
Horse Manure Compost(PDF)
Homemade Food Digester (PDF)
Hot Compost (PDF)
Natural Lawn & Garden (PDF)
On-Farm Composting of Livestock Mortalities (PDF)
Sample Systems (PDF)
Small Farm Composting (PDF)
Tilth Worm Bin (PDF)
Using Compost (PDF)
Worm Composting (PDF)
© San Juan Islands Conservation District 2016