Backyard composting growth is exploding as residents of all ages become aware of how much compostable materials are unnecessarily entering our landfills. 30 to 50% of the residential waste stream is made up of compostable materials—food scraps, newspaper, dried plants, grass clippings and other yard waste, leaves and even cardboard. Many of us are doing our part by recycling glass, plastic and cardboard each week in our community containers, but only a small number of us are composting. The burden of all the compostables being thrown in the trash causes the premature closing of landfills and drives up tipping fee costs for private and public waste haulers. New landfills are expensive, unpopular with neighboring communities and claim valuable land.
Landfill effluent gas is a natural byproduct of decomposition of organic materials in landfills, and roughly 50% of that gas is methane. According to the EPA, municipal solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 15.4% of these emissions in 2015.
Another benefit of backyard composting is that residents are rewarded with nutrient-rich compost that came from his or her own kitchen scraps and yard waste. That compost is ideal for planting beds and vegetable gardens.
An easy way to get started with backyard gardening is by building raised gardens, or raised square foot gardens. Such gardens are as their name implies—raised off the ground by several inches to several feet. Novice and master gardeners alike understand the benefits of raised square foot gardening, and appreciate the increased organization and yields of their plots. Many prefer raised garden beds due to poor soils in their area and the ability to decrease effort in creating and maintaining the garden. They are typically laid right over lawn without rototilling, so are fast and easy to set up.
Typically, potting soil with roughly 1/3 blended compost mix is utilized to promote good root growth. The nutrient-rich compost feeds the plants and promotes soil microbes that aid in plant growth. Residents can reduce their cost by incorporating their own compost, made in their own backyard using their own compostable materials. The compost can also be added to the surface of the garden to help retain water, inhibit weed growth, and protect tender root systems from the sun. The eco-cycle of reusing your own waste materials to create healthy plants and vegetables is easy to manage in your very own backyard compost bin and raised garden.
Amazon offers both a square foot raised bed garden kit and an industry-leading backyard compost bin.