Composting : not just good for the soil, good for the air too?

Once its known that conservation is necessary, most people on Earth feel an obligation to “Do Better”: support wildlife conservation efforts, use less water, drive fewer kilometers, or ultimately attempt to reduce their ‘carbon footprint’. Green Earth, Conservation, Carbon FootprintThis makes us feel better about the impact we are each making on the Earth during our lifetimes. Its not often that we see the benefit of our efforts so quickly or so directly as you do with composting.

Recycling household trash has become a way of life in most first world countries, and is establishing itself in South Africa. Recycling food wastes is generally left to those with large properties, smallholdings or farms – is that “Doing Better”?


Read the post below, extracted from an article by Dr Gareth Evans, published on

Why Compost?

About a third of household waste is compostable – garden clippings, vegetable peelings and the like – and until quite recently most of it used to go into landfill. When this kind of material rots in the sort of anaerobic (without air) conditions it encounters buried in a waste site, it gives off methane gas – which is 20 to 30 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas Green Earth, Conservation, Nurturethan carbon dioxide. Although changes in the law to restrict the amount of this kind of waste which is allowed to go to landfill have helped, the problem of what to do with the remainder is still a big one.

Composting is one really good solution, since in the aerobic (air-rich) environment of the compost heap, this type of waste breaks down to produce the familiar crumbly, earthy material we all know – and gardeners love so much.

Although composting does produce carbon dioxide as the microbes responsible for breaking it down get to grips with the job, it is “modern” carbon – so there’s no net atmospheric increase – and in any case, it’s way better than releasing that much methane into the air.