Composting Essay, Research Paper
Composting is the solution to garbage problems. Composting is a way of recycling wastes and turning them into a soil like material called humus, a soil conditioner. With composting we can recycle our organic wastes and thus reduce the volume of our garbage! According to the Composting Council of Canada, about fifty percent of the total waste generated could be composted (http://www.compost.org/natural.html). Furthermore findings from WASTE an environmental group from the Netherlands say that in Asian cities seventy to eighty-five percent of solid wastes comprise of organic materials, dirt and dust (Lardinois, http://www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ic-mfa/lardinois/paper.html). These materials could be composted, that s why composting in our community has a lot of potential value that cannot be overlooked. By composting, we could greatly reduce the garbage that has to be picked up and sent to landfills and dumpsites.
To begin composting, the first thing we have to do is start segregating our garbage. We put organics that can be composted in one bin, and non-biodegradable materials in another. A simple way to collect garbage from the kitchen is to use ice-cream containers. The container can be placed under the sink to make things convenient. As you produce waste, put it in the container and when it is full it can be taken out and added to the compost pile. In the beginning it may seem tedious but all it takes is a little getting used to. We ll also need a place to compost the garbage, preferably a compost bin to keep things neat. This is where the composting process will take place. Composting bins need not be expensive and can be bought or self-made. After adding some soil into the bin, from time to time we ll have to water it and turn the compost materials around with a shovel. This is part of the maintenance process. After two months the trash would already have composted into humus. The humus can be harvested and used as a good conditioner that improves plant, garden and lawn growth. There are many other ways to compost organic matter and food wastes. We can use containers called green cones to bury the waste in the soil and let it compost there. Another alternative is to use a worm bin. These containers use worms to help speed up the composting process. (http://go4green.sask.com/home/garden/compost1.html). There are many alternative ways to compost our wastes and if everyone in the compound would cooperate and compost their garbage then we will be all contributing in reducing the garbage volume of the community
In Canada, composting has become an industry and people there are not limited to just backyard or home composting. There are many composting plants that compost waste at a large scale (http://www.compost.org). At the Penn State University in the U.S. they had diverted hundreds of tons of food waste and other organic wastes from going to the landfills. Food wastes were collected from University dinning halls and leaves materials were collected from the University Park. Their environmental project was quite a success (http://www.aginfo.psu.edu/News/august98/compost.html).
In 1995 in the Village of Bellport, New York, the Environmental Defense Fund worked on a pilot home composting program that involved 150 families. They wanted to test whether composting kitchen waste at home would reduce the amount of waste the people had to dispose of. Aside from that they intended to see whether cost related to disposing garbage would be reduced because of home composting. The pilot program initially ran for eight months, wherein two families each month would weigh their mixed and composted garbage. The results of the study on the Village of Bellport show that garbage could be reduced by 30% through composting.
Mixed garbage was collected twice a week but with the removal of kitchen waste the Village was able to reduce the mixed garbage pickup to once a week. Furthermore they estimated that they could save around $11,000 in tipping related costs because of the reduced volume of trash (Cooley, http://www.edf.org/pubs/Reports/compost.html).
These cases attest that composting is really a legitimate way of reducing garbage. Introducing the process of home composting to our own townhouse community has many benefits. Aside from reducing our garbage volume, we will also be helping the environment. By composting we will be saving landfill space. When we dump our waste into landfills it has the potential to build up and become toxic polluting gases that are responsible for the greenhouse effect. Aside from that the toxins in the waste buried deep in the ground may leak and contaminate water supplies. Composting provides a solution to our landfill sites congestion.
Composting however has some negative effects. It is possible that rodents or pests may be attracted to the composting pile. Aside from that the composting pile has the potential to create odor problems, after all it is garbage. In life nothing is ever easy, but if we try our best and properly maintain our composting units then problems like these are less likely to occur. Foul odors from the compost pile can be avoided by placing the right types of organic waste into the mixture. In the Village of Bellport there were only a few cases like this and overall it didn t present much of a problem to the community. With all the potential benefits of composting, these negative effects are negligible.