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The Benefits of Composting and How to Start Your Own Compost

by Frederick Akinola
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Composting transforms organic waste into nutrient-rich soil, making it a key practice for sustainable living. Consequently, it offers numerous benefits for the environment, economy, and individuals. This article highlights these advantages and provides a simple guide to starting your own compost.

The Benefits
Environmental Impact:

First, composting reduces landfill waste. About 30% of our trash is organic waste, which can be transformed into compost instead of filling up landfills and producing methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.

Moreover, this process decreases pollution. It reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, which often pollute water systems and cause harmful algal blooms.

Additionally, turning organic waste into compost enhances soil quality. It improves soil structure, helps retain moisture, and boosts fertility, reducing erosion and promoting healthier plant growth

Economic Advantages:

Furthermore, home composting can cut down on waste disposal costs and reduce spending on soil conditioners and fertilizers.

Similarly, when people recycle their organic waste, municipalities save on waste collection and landfill maintenance.

Personal and Community Benefits:

For gardeners, compost enriches soil, leading to healthier plants and better garden yields.

In educational settings, composting serves as a practical tool for teaching about ecology, recycling, and sustainability.

Finally, community compost projects bring people together, fostering a sense of shared responsibility and environmental stewardship.

How to Start Your Own Compost

The process is easy and requires minimal equipment and space. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

Choose a Method:

For those with garden space, outdoor is ideal. This involves creating a pile or using a bin.

On the other hand, indoor recycling of organic waste is suitable for apartment dwellers or those without outdoor space. This can be done using a worm bin (vermicomposting) or a small compost container.

Select a Bin:

A  pile is a low-cost option where organic material is piled in a designated area. It requires occasional turning to aerate.

Alternatively, bins, available in various sizes and designs, keep compost contained, reduce odors, and deter pests. Tumbler bins simplify the process by allowing easy rotation.

Gather Materials:

Begin by collecting greens, which are high in nitrogen, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, and grass clippings.

Next, gather browns, which are high in carbon, like dried leaves, straw, paper, cardboard, and wood chips.

Importantly, avoid adding meat, dairy, oils, and diseased plants, as they can attract pests and create unpleasant odors.

Build Your Pile:

Start with a layer of browns for aeration and drainage. Follow with a layer of greens. Continue alternating layers, aiming for a balance of about three parts browns to one part greens.

Ensure the compost is as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Add water if it’s too dry or more browns if it’s too wet.

Turn your compost regularly, about once a week, to introduce oxygen. This helps speed up decomposition and prevents odor.

Maintain Your Compost:

Active decomposition generates heat. A well-maintained pile can reach temperatures of 130-160°F (55-70°C), which helps kill weed seeds and pathogens.

A properly balanced organic waste pile with a mix of greens and browns and regular turning should not attract pests. If issues arise, avoid adding meat or dairy products and ensure the compost is covered.


The compost is ready when it’s dark, crumbly, and has an earthy smell. This process can take a few months to a year, depending on the size of the pile and the materials used.

Use finished compost to enrich garden soil, topdress lawns, or as a potting mix for potted plants.


Composting is a simple yet powerful way to reduce waste, improve soil health, and contribute to a more sustainable environment. By following these steps, you can start your own compost and enjoy the many benefits it brings to your garden, wallet, and planet. Happy composting!

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