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We love compost! International compost awareness week

We like composting! International Composting Awareness Week

This week, we celebrate International Composting Awareness Week, an initiative of the American Composting Council, inviting everyone to organize events to promote composting as a sustainable solution for soil and water around the world.

Yes, we like composting! Closing the cycle by composting our organic waste and returning nutrients to the soil is extremely important for the sustainability of our environment, our food supply, and our zero waste strategy. Interestingly, the latest report of the World Bank on global waste issues provides its own version of waste grades. Composting and anaerobic digestion are the only two organic treatment technologies in the recycling category. As shown in the picture below, then put the incineration together with the rest of the waste disposal options.

Today, successful composting experience can be seen everywhere at the household and community level, such as Hernani, which is one of the best practices of zero waste in Europe. But it can also be organized on a large scale like San Francisco, which is a model zero-waste commitment city, marking its one millionth metric tons of organic waste turned into compost in March 2012.

In fact, composting is proving to be a very popular initiative, gaining more and more supporters everywhere. To give a few examples, we recently learned that in the Basque Country, more than 700 families will start a new program to compost at home or collectively. At the national level, Spain collaborates with Composta en Red, a network of cities dedicated to promoting and implementing composting practices, exchanging resources and providing training to interested cities. Similar experiences can be found in the community composting network in the UK.

There are many reasons for composting, but here are some good options:

1. Composting converts waste into resources. It is organic garbage in your kitchen, but once it enters the compost bin, it becomes a treasure! This is not to say that we can waste food as long as we compost. Absolutely not. Reducing food waste remains the top priority of our zero waste strategy-look at these inspiring initiatives to reduce food waste.

2. Composting can transfer waste from landfills and incinerators. Sadly, most of the food waste in the EU will still end up in landfills or incinerators. Organic waste in landfills pollutes our soil and groundwater and produces methane. This greenhouse gas has 25 times the heat absorption potential of carbon dioxide and is therefore a major factor in climate change. In turn, burning food waste is just a waste of resources. The key to resolving these contradictions is as simple as source separation of organic waste, not to mix it with any other waste stream. Once you have clean food waste, you can compost the next step.

3. Composting can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Composting can not only reduce waste in landfills and incinerators, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Putting compost into the soil of arable land itself acts as a temporary carbon sink, because the soil sequesters carbon, otherwise the carbon will be immediately released into the atmosphere if it is burned. Members of the European Zero Waste Scientific Committee wrote this paper on the huge potential role of composting in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

4. Compost instead of chemical fertilizer. Compost provides key nutrients to the soil in a way that does not require chemical fertilizers. In this way, composting can save greenhouse gas emissions associated with fertilizer production and avoid their toxic effects on our soil and food chain. Moreover, farmers can save money!

5. Composting reduces the use of pesticides. Composting makes plants healthier and stronger in response to biodiversity imbalances and pest control, thereby reducing the need for chemical pesticides. This again reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with pesticide production and avoids their toxicity in our food supply. It is worth noting that according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, pesticides are related to serious health problems in children, and may become carcinogens or damage the endocrine system.

6. Compost will form topsoil and tilt. Compost itself can produce good soil and help prevent soil erosion and degradation. Using compost can improve soil structure, moisture content, aeration, water permeability, and drainage, making the land better prepared to grow healthy food in a sustainable manner.

7. Compost helps maintain moisture in the soil. Water is a precious resource, and using compost helps the soil keep it underground. Healthy plants and their roots keep water near them and prevent water loss.

8. Composting is cheap, simple and time-saving. Once the basic structure is in place, the cost of composting is low, it only requires your eyes and hands to separate the waste from the source and put it in the correct bin. Once the organic waste enters the compost bin, you can forget it in a few weeks, so the process itself requires very low maintenance dedication, and the rewards are very valuable. In short, a big victory can be achieved without any effort.

Learn how the Zero Waste Movement lobbyed to bring carbon back to the soil as a strategy to combat climate change.

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