Imagine transforming your kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil that will nourish your plants and help reduce waste. With our article “What Is Composting?” you will learn all about the process of composting and how it can benefit both your garden and the environment.
From understanding the basic principles of composting to exploring different methods and materials, this product is your comprehensive guide to turning organic waste into black gold. Get ready to embark on a journey towards creating a sustainable and vibrant garden while making a positive impact on our planet. Composting is the process of decomposing organic materials such as food scraps, yard waste, and paper into nutrient-rich soil-like material called compost.
This natural process is an excellent way to recycle organic waste and create a valuable resource for gardening and agriculture. By combining certain materials and providing the right conditions, you can create a compost pile or bin that encourages the breakdown of organic matter by microorganisms. Composting is not only beneficial for the environment but also for soil health, reducing landfill waste, providing financial savings, and fostering community engagement.
Composting has numerous environmental benefits that make it an essential practice for sustainable living. One of the significant advantages is that it reduces the amount of organic waste sent to landfills. When organic waste breaks down in a landfill without oxygen, it produces methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. By composting organic materials, you can divert them from landfills and significantly reduce methane emissions.
Furthermore, composting improves soil quality by enriching it with organic matter and promoting a healthy ecosystem. The resulting compost contains essential nutrients that plants need to grow, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. When added to the soil, compost enhances its structure, water-holding capacity, and nutrient retention, leading to healthier plants and increased biodiversity. Composting also helps prevent erosion by improving soil structure, allowing it to absorb and retain water more effectively.
Soil Health Benefits
One of the primary benefits of composting is its positive impact on soil health. Compost acts as a natural fertilizer, providing a balanced and slow-release source of nutrients for plants. It helps improve the soil’s structure, making it more crumbly and creating air spaces that allow for better root development and water infiltration. Additionally, compost enhances the soil’s ability to retain moisture, reducing the need for frequent watering and helping plants withstand drought conditions.
Moreover, composting encourages the growth of beneficial soil organisms, such as earthworms, bacteria, and fungi. These microorganisms break down organic matter and release nutrients in a form that plants can readily absorb. They also create channels in the soil, improving aeration and allowing plant roots to access nutrients more easily. By promoting the activity of these beneficial soil organisms, composting contributes to the overall health and fertility of the soil ecosystem.
Reduces Landfill Waste
Composting plays a crucial role in reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), organic materials, such as food scraps and yard waste, make up approximately 30% of what we throw away. When these materials decompose in landfills, they generate methane gas, a greenhouse gas that is even more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of its global warming potential. By composting organic waste instead, we can divert it from landfills and prevent the release of methane, thus reducing our carbon footprint.
Additionally, composting reduces the strain on landfill capacity and extends their lifespan. As landfills continue to fill up with non-biodegradable materials, finding new sites for waste disposal becomes increasingly challenging. Composting can significantly reduce the volume of organic waste that needs to be buried, helping to conserve land and resources.
Composting can also provide financial benefits for individuals, businesses, and communities. On a personal level, composting can help reduce household waste, leading to potential savings on waste collection fees. Instead of sending organic waste to the curb, you can redirect it to a compost pile or bin, eliminating the need for additional garbage bags or bins.
Compost can also save money on gardening expenses. Instead of purchasing commercial fertilizers and soil amendments, you can use compost to enrich your garden soil naturally. Compost provides a rich source of nutrients and beneficial microorganisms, improving plant growth and reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. By utilizing compost in your garden, you can save money while creating a sustainable and healthy garden environment.
Composting does not only benefit individuals but also fosters a sense of community and environmental stewardship. Many communities have implemented municipal composting programs or established community composting sites. These initiatives provide residents with a central location to drop off their organic waste, reducing the amount sent to landfills and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Community composting also promotes education and awareness about sustainable waste management practices. It offers an opportunity for residents to learn about the environmental benefits of composting and how to implement it in their own lives. By engaging in composting, individuals can feel a sense of connection to their community and contribute to a healthier environment collectively.
Now that you understand the benefits of composting, let’s explore how the composting process works and the various methods you can use.
How Composting Works
Composting relies on the natural process of biodegradation, in which microorganisms break down organic materials into simpler compounds. To successfully compost, you need to provide the right conditions for these microorganisms to thrive, including a suitable mix of organic materials, temperature, oxygen, and moisture.
The first requirement for composting is a blend of organic materials. These materials fall into two main categories: greens and browns. Greens refer to nitrogen-rich materials, such as grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds. Browns, on the other hand, include carbon-rich materials like dried leaves, straw, cardboard, and wood chips. Achieving a proper balance between greens and browns is essential for successful composting, as it helps maintain the ideal carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, which facilitates the decomposition process.
Additionally, it is essential to chop or shred larger organic materials into smaller pieces. Breaking them down into smaller fragments increases the surface area available for microbial activity, speeding up decomposition.
The biodegradation process that occurs during composting involves the action of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes. These microorganisms feed on the organic matter in the compost pile, breaking it down into simpler compounds. As they consume the organic materials, they release enzymes that facilitate decomposition and transform the complex organic compounds into humus.
Humus is the stable, dark-colored material that remains after complete decomposition. It is rich in nutrients and adds organic matter to the soil, enhancing its structure and fertility. Achieving the humus stage is a sign that the composting process is nearing completion.
Microorganisms are the workhorses of composting, and their activity is vital for the breakdown of organic materials. Bacteria are responsible for the initial decomposition of simple sugars and proteins, breaking down these compounds into organic acids and ammonia. Fungi play a crucial role in breaking down more complex organic materials, such as lignin and cellulose, which make up woody or fibrous materials.
Actinomycetes, a type of filamentous bacteria, contribute to the decomposition process by breaking down tough, decomposable materials. They are responsible for the earthy smell often associated with compost piles.
Temperature and Oxygen
Temperature and oxygen play critical roles in the composting process. As microorganisms decompose organic matter, they generate heat as a byproduct of their metabolic activities. This heat is essential, as it helps accelerate the decomposition process and kills off potential pathogens or weed seeds present in the compost pile.
To maintain optimal temperatures, it is essential to provide adequate aeration. Oxygen is necessary for the breakdown of organic matter by aerobic microorganisms, which thrive in the presence of oxygen. Turning and aerating the compost pile regularly allows for the circulation of oxygen and prevents the development of anaerobic conditions that lead to unpleasant odors.
Higher temperatures, typically ranging between 135 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (57 to 71 degrees Celsius), favor the activity of thermophilic microorganisms, which break down materials more efficiently. However, it’s important to note that excessive temperatures can harm beneficial microorganisms, so monitoring compost pile temperatures is crucial.
There are various composting methods or systems you can choose from, depending on your available space, time commitment, and desired outcomes.
Backyard composting refers to the process of composting organic materials in a pile or bin within your property. It is the most accessible and common method for homeowners and gardeners. Backyard composting can be done using simple methods, such as a traditional open pile or a more controlled approach with a compost bin. It allows you to manage your organic waste efficiently while producing nutrient-rich compost for your garden.
To backyard compost, you can start with a designated composting area or use a compost bin. The key is to add a balanced mix of greens and browns, maintain proper moisture levels, and periodically turn the pile to encourage aeration and decomposition.
Vermicomposting involves using worms to break down organic materials into nutrient-rich castings known as vermicompost or worm castings. This method is suitable for individuals with limited outdoor space or those looking for an indoor composting option.
To vermicompost, you will need a vermicomposting bin or worm bin specifically designed for this purpose. You can introduce red worms (Eisenia fetida or red wigglers) to the bin along with a bedding material, such as shredded newspaper or coconut coir. The worms consume the organic waste, converting it into castings rich in beneficial nutrients, enzymes, and microbial activity. The resulting vermicompost is a highly concentrated form of compost that can be used to fertilize plants.
Vermicomposting is an excellent choice for apartment dwellers, as it can be done indoors, providing them with a sustainable solution for recycling organic waste.
Aerated Static Pile Composting
Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting is a method that allows for large-scale composting, often used in commercial or municipal facilities. It involves creating a windrow or pile of organic materials and providing a controlled flow of air through the pile using aeration pipes or ducts. The continuous supply of oxygen accelerates the composting process and helps manage odors.
ASP composting requires proper monitoring and management to ensure that the pile reaches and maintains the desired temperatures. Timely turning and maintaining moisture levels are crucial elements in the success of this method.
Indoor composting is an option for individuals who may not have access to outdoor space or prefer to compost on a smaller scale. This method utilizes specialized indoor composting bins that are designed to contain and manage organic waste effectively in a compact size.
Indoor composting bins typically have features like airtight lids, carbon filters to control odors, and leachate collection systems. The composting process is usually slower compared to outdoor methods, as the conditions are not ideal for high heat and rapid decomposition. However, it still allows you to convert kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost that can be used for houseplants or small garden containers.
Windrow composting involves creating long, narrow piles or windrows of organic materials, typically in agricultural or larger-scale composting operations. This method is often used for composting yard waste, such as leaves, grass clippings, and prunings.
Windrows are periodically turned using specialized machinery to ensure proper aeration and decomposition. The composting process in windrows requires careful monitoring of moisture levels, temperatures, and turning frequency to achieve optimal results. This method is more suitable for individuals or organizations involved in agricultural or horticultural practices.
Now that you have a better understanding of the composting process and the different methods available, it’s essential to know what materials can and cannot be composted.
What to Compost
Composting is a versatile process that can accommodate a wide variety of organic materials. Understanding what items can be composted will help you make the most of your composting efforts and avoid adding materials that may hinder the process or introduce potential issues.
Green materials are nitrogen-rich organic waste that provides a source of protein and other essential nutrients for microorganisms in the compost pile. Some examples of greens suitable for composting include:
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Tea leaves and bags
- Grass clippings
- Plant trimmings
- Fresh leaves and weeds (excluding those with seeds)
These green materials are considered “wet” components of compost, contributing moisture and nitrogen to the pile.
Brown materials are carbon-rich organic waste that provides a source of energy for microorganisms in the compost pile. Brown materials typically have a higher carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and are often dry or fibrous. Examples of browns you can compost include:
- Dry leaves
- Straw and hay
- Shredded paper (newspaper, office paper, cardboard)
- Wood chips and sawdust
- Fall garden debris
- Dried plant stalks or stems
These brown materials balance the moisture and nitrogen content in the compost pile. They also help provide structure and airflow, preventing the compost pile from becoming too compacted.
Other Compostable Items
In addition to the traditional greens and browns, there are other compostable items you can include in your compost pile:
- Eggshells: Crushed eggshells add calcium to the compost and help balance the pH.
- Nutshells: Nutshells can be composted, but some may take longer to break down.
- Seaweed: If you have access to seaweed, it can be composted and provides valuable minerals.
- Used paper towels and napkins: If they are not heavily soiled with chemicals or oils, these can be composted.
- Hair and fur: Hair clippings and pet fur can be composted. They decompose slowly but add valuable organic matter to the pile.
- Fireplace ashes: Wood ashes in small quantities can be added to compost to raise the pH levels.
- Dryer lint: Lint from natural fiber clothing or dryer sheets can be composted if it doesn’t contain synthetic materials.
By incorporating these materials, you can diversify the carbon and nitrogen sources in your compost, creating a well-balanced mixture.
What Not to Compost
While many organic materials can be composted, there are certain items that should be avoided to prevent potential problems in the composting process. These materials either break down too slowly or introduce contaminants that can hinder decomposition or harm the health of your compost.
Meat and Dairy Products
Meat, fish, bones, and dairy products should not be composted in traditional backyard compost piles. These materials can attract pests, generate unpleasant odors, and introduce harmful bacteria into your compost. If you still want to compost these items, you can consider alternative methods such as bokashi composting or specialized composting systems that can handle these materials.
Oily or Greasy Items
Oils, fats, and greasy food scraps should also be avoided in typical composting systems. These materials can create a barrier to aeration and impede the breakdown of organic matter. They can also attract pests and produce unpleasant odors. It is best to dispose of these items in the regular garbage or recycle them if possible.
Avoid composting plants that are diseased or infested with pests. The heat generated during the composting process may not be sufficient to kill pathogens or pests, and you risk spreading the diseases or pests to your garden when using the compost. It is better to dispose of diseased plants in the regular garbage or through other methods recommended by local waste management authorities.
Pet waste, including cat litter and dog waste, should not be composted in traditional compost piles. These waste materials may contain harmful pathogens, such as Toxoplasma gondii or E. coli, which can survive the composting process and pose a risk to human health. It is best to dispose of pet waste in designated garbage bins or use specific pet waste disposal systems available in some areas.
Chemically Treated Materials
Chemically treated materials, such as wood treated with arsenic or pressure-treated lumber, should not be composted. These materials contain toxic substances that can contaminate the compost and harm plants or animals when used in the garden. It is advisable to dispose of chemically treated materials through appropriate waste management channels.
Now that you know what materials can and cannot be composted, let’s delve into the composting process itself.
Composting is a multi-step process that involves several stages, from preparation to harvesting and use. By following these steps, you can create a successful compost pile and produce nutrient-rich compost for your garden.
Step 1: Preparation
Before starting the composting process, it is essential to select a suitable location for your compost pile or bin. Ideally, the location should be well-drained and receive partial sunlight. While direct sunlight can accelerate the decomposition process, too much sun exposure can dry out the compost pile. High temperatures may also kill beneficial microorganisms.
Next, gather the necessary equipment based on the composting method you choose. This may include a compost bin or container, pitchfork or shovel for turning the pile, and a compost thermometer to monitor temperatures.
Step 2: Collection and Layering
Start collecting organic materials for composting, ensuring that you have a mix of greens and browns. Chop or shred larger materials into smaller pieces to speed up decomposition. It is essential to maintain a balanced carbon-to-nitrogen ratio in the compost pile.
Begin layering the organic materials in your compost pile or bin, starting with a layer of browns followed by a layer of greens. Continue alternating the layers until you have used all the compostable materials you have gathered. Aim for a pile that is roughly three parts brown materials to one part green materials. Avoid creating extremely thick layers, as they may become compacted and prevent airflow.
Step 3: Monitoring and Maintenance
Regular monitoring and maintenance are essential to ensure optimal composting conditions. Check the moisture content of the compost pile regularly and adjust as necessary. The ideal moisture level in a compost pile is similar to a damp sponge, approximately 50-60% moisture content. If the pile appears too dry, water it lightly. If it is too wet, add dry, brown materials to absorb excess moisture.
Monitor the temperature of the compost pile using a compost thermometer. The temperature should rise to around 130-150 degrees Fahrenheit (54-66 degrees Celsius) in the initial stages of composting. If the temperature drops below this range, it may indicate a lack of nitrogen or inadequate aeration. If the temperature rises above 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius), the pile may be too large, too dense, or lack sufficient aeration.
Step 4: Turning and Aerating
Turning and aerating the compost pile regularly is crucial for maintaining airflow and providing oxygen to the microorganisms. Use a pitchfork or shovel to turn the pile every few weeks, moving the outer materials to the center and vice versa. This helps distribute heat and moisture evenly and prevents the pile from becoming compacted. Turning the pile also exposes new materials to the center, where decomposition is most active.
Aerating the pile can be done by inserting a garden fork or aeration tool into the pile in multiple places, creating air channels. This allows for the circulation of oxygen and helps maintain aerobic conditions, facilitating the decomposition process.
Step 5: Harvesting and Use
After several months or up to a year, depending on the conditions and materials used, your compost will be ready to use. The compost is considered mature when it has turned into a dark, crumbly material that resembles rich soil. The original organic materials should be unrecognizable, and the compost should have an earthy smell.
To harvest the compost, stop adding new materials to the pile and let it rest for a few weeks to ensure complete decomposition. Then, use a garden fork or shovel to remove the finished compost from the bottom of the pile. Any unfinished materials or larger pieces that have not yet decomposed can be placed back into the pile for further processing.
Use the harvested compost to improve the fertility and nutrient content of your garden soil. Apply a layer of compost around existing plants, spread it on garden beds, or mix it with potting soil for houseplants. Compost can also be used as a mulch to suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture, and regulate soil temperature.
Compost Bin Options
DIY Compost Bins
DIY compost bins can be created using various materials, such as wire mesh, wooden pallets, or cinder blocks. These bins are often affordable and allow for customization based on the available space and desired size.
For a simple wire mesh bin, create a circular or square enclosure using wire mesh fencing. Secure the wire mesh in place with stakes or by bending and overlapping the wire. This type of bin provides sufficient air circulation and drainage while keeping compost materials contained.
Wooden pallet bins utilize discarded pallets to create compartments for composting. Simply tie or screw the pallets together to form a three-sided structure, leaving one side open for easy access. Wooden pallet bins offer a rustic look and can be easily expanded or moved if needed.
Cinder blocks can also be used to construct a DIY compost bin. Stack the blocks to create walls, leaving gaps between them for airflow. This type of bin is sturdy and durable, providing a semi-permanent structure for composting.
Tumblers and Drums
Compost tumblers and drums offer a convenient and efficient way to compost, particularly for individuals with limited space or physical limitations. These bins are often mounted on a frame or have a built-in mechanism for rotating, allowing for easy turning of the compost.
To use a compost tumbler or drum, add the compostable materials, close the lid securely, and turn the bin regularly to promote aeration and mixing. The tumbling action helps speed up the composting process, and some models even have multiple compartments, allowing for different stages of composting.
Compost tumblers and drums are particularly popular for urban dwellers or individuals with small yards, as they can be easily placed on a patio or balcony. They also help deter pests and rodents, as the closed design prevents animals from accessing the compost.
Pile or Heap Composting
Pile or heap composting is the most basic and natural method of composting. It involves creating an open pile of organic materials, either on the ground or within a designated composting area. This method requires minimal equipment or investment but offers less control over the composting process.
To pile compost, start by creating a base layer of coarse materials, such as twigs or straw, to allow for good drainage and airflow. Then, layer the compostable materials, alternating between greens and browns. Aim for a pile that is at least three feet high and wide for efficient composting. Regularly turn the pile to ensure proper aeration and decomposition.
Pile composting is suitable for individuals with larger yards, as it requires more space and may be visually less appealing compared to other composting methods. However, it remains a practical and effective way to compost on a larger scale.
Worm bins, also known as vermicomposting bins, are specifically designed for worm composting. These bins allow you to harness the power of worms to break down organic materials into nutrient-rich castings.
Worm bins typically consist of several stacked trays with perforated bottoms, allowing worms to move between them. Start with a base tray for collecting excess moisture, and add subsequent trays as the worms consume the organic waste. This layering system allows for a continuous cycle of feeding, digestion, and migration.
Maintaining a worm bin involves providing bedding material, such as shredded newspaper or coconut coir, for the worms, and adding organic waste regularly. It is essential to monitor moisture and temperature levels to ensure optimal conditions for the worms.
Worm bins are an excellent option for individuals living in apartments, as they can be kept indoors and do not produce odors if properly managed. They offer a compact and efficient way to recycle kitchen scraps and create valuable vermicompost.
Commercial Compost Bins
If you prefer a ready-made solution or have specific requirements for your compost bin, there are various commercial compost bins available on the market. These bins often come in different sizes and designs, catering to different needs and composting methods.
Commercial compost bins may offer features such as ventilation systems, adjustable aeration, and easy access for turning and harvesting compost. They may also have additional components to control moisture levels, manage odors, or accelerate the composting process.
When choosing a commercial compost bin, consider factors such as the size of your composting area, the amount of waste you generate, and your desired level of involvement. Read reviews and compare options to find a bin that suits your specific needs and preferences.
Troubleshooting Composting Issues
While composting is a relatively straightforward process, it is not uncommon to encounter challenges along the way. Here are some common composting issues and how to troubleshoot them:
An unpleasant odor emanating from your compost pile usually indicates a lack of oxygen or excessive moisture. To remedy this, turn the compost pile more frequently to introduce more oxygen. If the pile is too wet, add dry, brown materials to absorb excess moisture. Covering the pile with a tarp or using a compost bin with a lid can also help control odors.
Pests and Rodents
Pests and rodents are often attracted to compost piles that contain food waste or have not been properly managed. To deter unwanted visitors, avoid composting meat, fish, dairy products, or oily/greasy items that may attract pests. Ensure the compost pile is well-ventilated and aerated to discourage pests from nesting. If necessary, consider using a rodent-proof compost bin or incorporating wire mesh or a hardware cloth beneath the pile to prevent burrowing.
Too Wet or Dry Compost
Maintaining proper moisture levels is crucial for successful composting. If the compost pile is too dry, it may take longer to decompose. To increase moisture, water the pile lightly or include moist greens or vegetable scraps. If the compost pile is too wet, add dry, brown materials to absorb excess moisture, turn the pile to promote aeration and evaporation, and ensure proper drainage.
Slow Composting Process
A slow composting process can result from factors such as improper carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, lack of aeration, or inadequate moisture levels. Check that your compost pile has a balanced mix of greens and browns, turn it regularly to encourage airflow, and maintain optimal moisture content. If the composting process continues to be slow, consider adding more greens to increase nitrogen levels or adjust the size of the compost pile to promote more efficient decomposition.
Unbalanced compost can occur when there is an excess of browns or greens in the compost pile. This can result in a pile that is too compacted or does not decompose efficiently. Adjust the ratio of greens and browns by adding more of the lacking component. Turn the pile to mix the materials thoroughly, ensuring they are evenly distributed. By achieving a balanced compost pile, you will create an environment conducive to efficient decomposition and nutrient-rich compost.
Compost is a valuable resource that can be utilized in various ways to benefit your garden, houseplants, and the environment. Here are some common uses for compost:
In gardening, compost can be used to amend garden soil, improve its structure, and enhance fertility. Mix compost into garden beds before planting to add organic matter and nutrients, improving soil texture and water-holding capacity. As compost decomposes, it releases nutrients slowly, providing a sustainable and natural source of plant nutrition. Regularly incorporating compost into your garden can help replenish soil nutrients and promote healthy plant growth.
Top-dressing plants with a layer of compost also provides a slow-release source of nutrients and helps retain moisture in the soil. This can be particularly beneficial for container gardens or plants that require extra nourishment.
Houseplants can benefit from the addition of compost to their potting mix. When repotting, incorporate compost into the new potting mix to increase organic matter and provide essential nutrients. Compost improves the soil structure and water-holding capacity of potting mixes, allowing roots to access nutrients more effectively.
To maintain the health of houseplants, top-dress with a thin layer of compost and gently work it into the topsoil. This helps replenish nutrients and encourages healthy root growth. Remember not to overapply compost, as too much can cause waterlogging or nutrient imbalances.
Compost can also be used to amend soil in various outdoor areas, such as lawns, flower beds, or vegetable gardens. Spread a layer of compost over the desired area and work it into the existing soil using a garden fork or tiller. This improves soil structure, promotes drainage, and increases nutrient availability.
For lawns, spread a thin layer of compost and rake it into the grass, paying attention to bare patches or areas with compacted soil. The compost enhances soil health and can lead to healthier and greener grass growth.
Compost makes an excellent mulch that provides numerous benefits to plants and the surrounding soil. Apply a layer of compost around the base of plants to suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture, and regulate soil temperature. Mulching with compost also helps improve soil fertility over time, as the compost slowly decomposes and releases nutrients.
When using compost as a mulch, ensure that it is not touching the plant stems to prevent potential rot or disease. Leave a small gap around the base of the plants to allow for airflow and water penetration.
Compost can be an effective tool for erosion control, particularly in areas prone to soil erosion or bare ground. Spread a layer of compost over exposed soil, focusing on slopes or areas where rainfall runoff is concentrated. The compost helps stabilize the soil, preventing erosion and promoting plant growth.
For best results, consider adding erosion control materials, such as erosion control blankets or biodegradable netting, in conjunction with compost. These materials help hold the compost in place until vegetation can establish and protect the soil.
By utilizing compost in these various ways, you can harness its many benefits and contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach to gardening and land management.
In conclusion, composting is a simple yet powerful practice that allows you to recycle organic waste, improve soil health, reduce landfill waste, save money, and foster community engagement. By understanding the composting process, utilizing the right materials, and troubleshooting common issues, you can create high-quality compost that enriches your garden and contributes to a healthier planet. Start composting today and unlock the numerous benefits it has to offer. Happy composting!