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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

Composting For Climate: It's About Methane

OK this post is about a personal action that each of us can take to help save the planet. If you care about the climate and are not already composting, then you need to be! Please read on so I can inspire you. Composting is so much more than a method of waste management; it is a critical part of the fight against climate change. And it all comes down to its effectiveness in reducing methane emissions - especially from landfill.


Methane: The Silent Climate Culprit


Methane (CH₄) is a greenhouse gas which has a far greater global warming potential than (CO₂). Over a 20-year period, methane is almost ninety times more potent than CO₂ as a greenhouse gas. That means that each tonne of methane in the atmosphere has 90 times the impact of CO₂. The good news is that even small reductions in methane emissions can have significant benefits for our climate.


One of the primary sources of methane emissions is organic waste that decomposes in landfills. When food scraps, yard trimmings, and other organic materials end up in landfill, they decompose anaerobically (without oxygen), producing methane. This contributes to accumulation of methane in the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming.


Composting is a natural and effective solution. By composting organic waste, we can divert it from landfill and allow it to decompose aerobically (with oxygen). This significantly reduces methane. Instead of methane, aerobic decomposition produces CO₂, which although not great, is ninety times less potent as a greenhouse gas.


Moreover, composting transforms organic waste into nutrient-rich compost, which enhances soil health. Healthy soils are crucial for sequestering carbon, meaning they can absorb and store even more CO₂ from the atmosphere. This double benefit of reducing methane emissions and enhancing carbon sequestration makes composting a powerful tool for climate mitigation.


Broader Environmental Benefits


In addition to its climate benefits, composting has other environmental advantages:


  • Soil Health: Composting improves soil structure, fertility, and water retention, leading to healthier plants, veggies and crops. This reduces the need for chemical fertilisers, which have harmful environmental impacts.

  • Waste Reduction: Composting reduces the volume of waste sent to landfills, extending their lifespan and thus decreasing the need for new landfill sites.

  • Water Conservation: By improving soil water retention, composting helps conserve water and reduces irrigation needs. This is particularly important in arid regions.


Taking Action Now: How to Start Composting


Composting is easier than you might think. Here are some simple steps to get you started:


  1. Choose a Composting Method: Decide whether you want to compost at home, use a community program, or a local government composting service where available.

  2. Collect Organic Waste: Gather kitchen scraps (vegetable peels, coffee grounds, eggshells) and yard waste (leaves, grass clippings), preferably in a recycled or repurposed container from an Op Shop.

  3. Create a Compost Pile: If composting at home, set up a compost bin or pile in your backyard. Compost nests built from sticks are also a good idea, as are Worm Farms which you can buy at local nurseries and are handy for apartment living. Add a mix of green materials (kitchen scraps) and brown materials (leaves, straw) to maintain a balanced compost pile.

  4. Maintain the Pile: Turn the compost regularly to ensure it decomposes aerobically. Keep it moist but not too wet.

  5. Use the Finished Compost: Once the compost is dark and crumbly, use it to enrich your garden soil, donate it to local community gardens or guerrilla-garden it where possible.


It's easy to get overwhelmed by the climate crisis and think that our own actions and efforts might be insignificant. But each of our own actions add up to something bigger. By composting instead of sending organic waste to the landfill, an average family can save almost 10 tonnes of CO₂ equivalent per year in greenhouse gasses. So start composting today. And encourage your friends, family, and followers to compost too. Together, we can make a difference, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid climate catastrophe.


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5 comentarios


pba
15 jun

Chooks are also an excellent way to process food scraps. As well as delicious eggs, you get rich soil for the garden.

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Tim Fisher
Tim Fisher
14 jun

One thing worth really highlighting is that everything that used to be alive can go in compost.


This especially means all your paper, cardboard, envelopes, egg cartons etc etc - just rip them up. When compost gets stinky, it's usually because it doesn't have enough carbon and it's got too much nutrient-rich food, and the easiest way to even it out is to chuck in some paper and cardboard. All our cereal boxes, packaging, envelopes etc go in our compost bin.

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Gregory Andrews
Gregory Andrews
14 jun
Contestando a

Yep, I put meat and anything organic in ours. I do have a separate one for things like cardboard that might have chemicals. That compost doesn’t go into our veggie garden but it is perfect for the rest of the garden.

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Nicolas Pascal
Nicolas Pascal
12 jun

I bought a twin tumbler a few years back, really easy to use. I also put worms from the garden in there, it’s a giant nursery now.


This website https://compostrevolution.com.au/ has plenty of info about council rebates and tutorial about diverse form of compost. I highly recommend it

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Gregory Andrews
Gregory Andrews
13 jun
Contestando a

Thanks for sharing Nicolas. We have about three compost heaps and two worm farms! LOL

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