DOES HOME COMPOSTING BENEFIT THE PLANET?
Does each small piece of home composting positively benefit the environment and planet Earth?
To understand how and why, you need to look closer at the role of soil (dirt) and its critical role in mankind’s survival. This 30 min Radio 4, ‘Shared Planet’ broadcast hosted by Monty Don has a good overview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03cmt4t/Shared_Planet_Soil_Science/
When you add compost to soil you add “organic matter”. This organic matter is vital to soil fertility and carbon sequestration.
Think of it as a pyramid of stacked blocks, at the top:
Humans require food, therefore
We need plants and animals to eat
Animals need plants to eat
Plants need soil to grow (+water and sunlight)
Plant growth is determined by soil fertility
Soil fertility is a based on complex interactions of nutrients, water, air pores and soil compounds such as humus
Soil micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, worms etc) manage soil fertility (eg the release nutrients to plants)
Soil microorganisms require organic matter (food) to survive
You need to ensure soil organic matter is replenished. If not, soils degrade and eventually they stop being productive and the pyramid collapses.
The HOTBIN team has blogged on the impact compost has on soil fertility. We try and focus the debate away from what compost looks like and onto how much humeric substances your compost contains.